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The  Department  of  Oriental 

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FROM    A.D.    650    TO    1500. 




G  U  Y    LE    STRANGE. 
















OF    THE    IMPORTANT    WORK    DONE    BY    HIM    IN 






IT  is  the  object  of  the  present  work  to  translate  and  thus  render 
available  the  mass  of  interesting  information  about  Palestine 
which  lies  buried  in  the  Arabic  texts  of  the  Moslem  geographers 
and  travellers  of  the  Middle  Ages.  The  materials,  both  printed 
and  manuscript,  are  ample,  as  will  be  seen  from  the  list  of  authori- 
ties set  forth  in  the  Introduction  ;  hardly  any  attempt,  however,  has 
hitherto  been  made  to  render  the  contents  of  these  Arabic  texts 
available  to  the  English  reader.  Some  few  of  the  works  I  quote 
have,  it  is  true,  been  translated  either  in  whole  or  in  part,  into 
Latin,  French,  or  German  ;  but  as  far  as  I  am  aware,  no  Orientalist 
has  as  yet  undertaken  to  translate,  systematize,  and  bring  into 
comparison  and  chronological  order,  all  the  various  accounts  given 
by  the  Arab  geographers  of  the  cities,  Holy  Places,  and  districts  of 
Palestine  and  Syria. 

These  provinces  of  the  Byzantine  Empire  were  conquered  by 
the  Arab  hordes  within  a  few  years  of  the  death  of  Muhammad 
and,  except  for  the  interruption  caused  by  the  occupation  of  the 
Holy  Land  by  the  Crusaders,  the  country  has  remained  under  the 
rule  of  the  Moslems  down  to  the  present  day.  Before  the  close 
of  the  third  century  after  the  Flight — corresponding  with  the  ninth 
of  the  Christian  era — the  science  of  geography  had  already  begun 
to  be  studied  among  the  learned  of  Islam.  The  science,  besides 
being  theoretically  expounded  in  their  schools,  was  practically 
treated  of  in  the  numerous  Arab  "  Road  Books,"  since  the  pilgrim- 
age to  Mecca  made  every  Moslem  perforce  a  traveller  once  at 
least  during  the  course  of  his  life.  To  the  diaries  of  some  of  these 

viii  PREFACE. 

pilgrims,  whether  coming  from  the  western  lands  of  Spain,  or 
the  further  east  of  Persia  and  beyond — who  visited  Syria  and 
Jerusalem  on  the  journey  to  or  from  the  Hijjaz — we  owe  the 
detailed  and  graphic  descriptions  of  the  Holy  City  and  Damascus, 
and  the  Province  of  Syria,  during  the  Middle  Ages,  which  occur 
in  the  travels  of  such  men  as  Nasir-i-Khusrau  the  Persian,  Ibn 
Jubair  the  Spaniard,  and  Ibn  Batutah  the  Berber. 

It  may  be  useful  briefly  to  indicate  the  method  I  have  adopted 
in  carrying  through  my  work.  In  dealing  with  the  Arab  writers, 
I  have  been  careful  to  give  in  all  cases  an  exact  reference 
to  the  text  from  which  the  translation  has  been  made,  in  order 
that  those  who  might  question  my  rendering  should  be  able 
without  loss  of  time  to  refer  to  the  original.  I  may  be  allowed  to 
point  out  that  all  the  information  contained  in  the  present  volume 
has  been  obtained  at  first  hand,  for  though  I  have  been  careful 
to  consult  the  works  of  other  Orientalists  who  have  translated 
some  of  the  texts  I  quote,  the  translations  now  published  I  have 
in  every  case  made  myself  from  the  Arabic  or  Persian  originals. 
In  dealing  with  disputed  points  relating  to  the  position  of  the 
Holy  Places  in  Jerusalem,  I  have  briefly  stated  the  conclusions 
which  I  thought  were  to  be  deduced  from  the  accounts  given  by 
the  Moslem  writers  of  the  foundation  and  history  of  the  various 
edifices.  Theories  in  respect  to  the  position  of  the  Holy  Places, 
however,  form  but  a  minor  portion  of  my  work,  which  has  been 
to  translate  in  full,  and,  where  needful,  annotate,  the  texts  I  had 
before  me.  I  am  in  hopes  that  others  may  be  able  to  build  with 
the  bricks  I  have  thus  fashioned,  and  again  that  from  other 
printed  texts  and  MSS.,  similar  to  those  from  which  my  materials 
have  been  drawn,  other  workers  will  bring  to  light  further  in- 
formation that  will  correct  and  enlarge  what  has  been  gathered 
together  in  these  pages. 

Four  years  have  now  elapsed  since  I  began  my  work  with  the 
translation  of  Mukaddasi,  during  an  autumn  and  winter  spent  at 
Haifa,  under  Mount  Carmel,  in  Palestine.  The  result  of  four 
years'  labour  is  perhaps  scanty.  Those,  however,  who  have  ex- 
perience of  the  labour  of  searching  and  collating  Arabic  MSS.— 
or  even  the  work  with  printed  texts  as  the  basis  for  translation— 


will  bear  me  witness  that  the  task  is  long,  and  the  search  often 
to  be  repeated  before  any  satisfactory  result  is  obtained.  It  is 
impossible  to  skim  an  Arabic  book,  and  with  every  care  the  eye 
tires,  and,  passing  over,  often  fails  to  note  at  the  first  reading  the 
passage  that  is  sought  for. 

In  bringing  my  labours  to  a  conclusion,  I  have  many  to  thank 
for  aid  afforded  me  in  collecting  and  annotating  the  materials 
which  form  the  groundwork  of  the  present  volume.  In  the  first 
place,  I  am  under  a  debt  of  gratitude  for  the  courtesy  and  liberality 
with  which  the  librarians  of  the  great  public  libraries  of  Paris, 
Munich,  London,  and  Oxford,  have  answered  my  demands  for 
access  to  the  treasures  in  their  charge. 

The  regulations  of  the  foreign  libraries  are  more  liberal  in 
the  matter  of  loan  than  is  the  case  at  present  with  us  at  the 
British  Museum  and  at  the  Bodleian.  Under  the  guarantee 
of  a  letter  of  introduction,  given  me  by  the  late  Lord  Lyons, 
at  the  time  our  Ambassador  at  Paris,  M.  Delisle,  director  of 
the  Bibliotheque  National?,  allowed  me  to  borrow  and  keep 
at  my  own  house  during  many  months,  for  the  purposes  of 
copying  and  collating,  a  number  of  Arabic  MSS.  belonging  to 
the  Paris  Library,  which  I  needed  for  my  work  on  Suyuti. 
M.  Schefer,  the  well-known  Orientalist,  who  is  at  the  head  of  the 
Ecole  des  Langues  Orientates  Vivantes  at  Paris,  also  allowed  me  to 
carry  away  on  loan,  and  keep  during  the  greater  part  of  the  winter 
of  1886-87,  a  number  of  printed  books  from  the  library  of  the 
Ecole,  some  of  which  I  should  with  extreme  difficulty  have  other- 
wise procured,  since  many  of  the  texts  I  required  are  already  out 
Of  print.  To  both  these  gentlemen  my  heartiest  thanks  are  due. 
I  \ieed  hardly  point  out  how  great  was  the  boon  they  conferred  on 
me\  in  thus  allowing  me  to  carry  away  books  and  MSS.  for  perusal 
in  tr.e  quiet  of  my  own  study  ;  in  so  doing  sparing  me  the  labour 
of  copying  and  collating  the  texts  amid  the  interruptions  and  the 
incessant  coming  and  going  unavoidable  in  the  reading-room  of  a 
great  public  library. 

As  regards  the  Royal  Library  at  Munich,  too,  I  am  deeply 
indebted  to  the  courtesy  of  Dr.  Laubmann,  the  director,  and  his 
assistants.  On  two  occasions,  during  the  vacation,  when  the 


library  is  closed  to  the  general  public,  an  exception  was  made  in 
my  favour — though  I  came  as  a  perfect  stranger  to  these  gentle- 
men— and  free  access  was  granted  me  to  search  and  use  the 
magnificent  collection  of  Oriental  manuscripts  and  printed  books 
that  is  found  here. 

In  regard  to  the  British  Museum  and  the  Bodleian,  I  can  only 
express  my  acknowledgments  to  the  various  curators  and  officials 
of  these  two  national  libraries,  for  the  facilities  afforded  me  in 
there  consulting  books  which  the  illiberal  regulations  of  these 
establishments  render  unavailable  to  students  outside  the  walls  of 
their  respective  reading-rooms. 

To  friends  and  critics  of  my  former  publications  I  am  indebted 
for  corrections,  emendations,  and  many  valuable  hints.  In  the 
first  place,  I  have  to  thank  Professor  de  Goeje,  of  Leiden,  for  the 
trouble  to  which  he  put  himself  in  sending  me  a  long  letter  filled 
with  friendly  criticism  of  my  translation  of  Mukaddasi's  Description 
of  Palestine  and  Syria.  To  the  contents  of  his  letter  is  largely 
due  the  revision  I  have  made  in  the  present  translation.  Colonel 
Sir  Charles  Wilson  and  Major  Conder,  R.E.,  have  both  most 
generously  given  me  many  learned  and  useful  notes  on  Mukaddasi, 
Nasir-i-Khusrau,  and  Suyuti ;  and  the  former  I  have  further  to 
thank  for  his  paper  on  the  "Gates  of  the  Noble  Sanctuary  at 
Jerusalem,"  of  which  I  have  made  a  liberal  use.  Lastly,  though 
his  name  appears  but  rarely  in  my  notes,  I  owe  a  debt  of 
gratitude  to  Professor  Hayter-Lewis  for  his  book  on  the  Holy 
Places  of  Jerusalem^  which  I  have  found  invaluable  at  many 
points  of  my  present  work.  His  practical  knowledge  of  archi- 
tecture and  the  personal  inspection  he  has  given  to  the  buildings 
and  sites  under  discussion,  together  with  the  fact  that  Professor 
Hayter-Lewis  has  no  pet  theory  to  support,  render  his  criticisms 
and  conclusions  of  the  highest  possible  value. 

A  few  words  must  be  added  on  the  system  of  transliteration  of 
Arabic  names  employed  throughout  the  following  pages.  In  this 
I  have  made  no  attempt,  by  the  use  of  letters  with  points  or  bars 
beneath,  to  attain  absolute  accuracy,  and  many  inconsistencies  will 
doubtless  be  discovered  by  my  critics.  Nearly  all  the  Arabic  place- 
names,  however,  will  be  found  printed  in  Arabic  letters  in  the 


index,  and  this  I  deemed  was  necessary  and  useful  for  purposes 
of  etymology ;  while,  at  the  same  time,  it  has  dispensed  with  the 
use  of  dotted-letters  in  my  text,  or  the  adoption  of  a  complicated 
system  of  transliteration. 

In  regard  to  dates,  unless  specially  noted  to  the  contrary,  the 
years  are  given  according  to  the  Christian  era.  In  the  translations 
and  elsewhere  it  has  often  been  necessary  to  give  the  year  accord- 
ing to  the  era  of  the  Hijrah,  and  the  corresponding  year  A.D.  has 
then  been  added  in  brackets.  It  need  hardly  be  pointed  out  that 
when  two  dates  occur  side  by  side — e.g.,  691  (72) — the  higher 
figure  is  the  year  A.D.,  the  lower  the  year  A.H. 

In  the  second  part  of  my  work,  which  contains  in  alphabetical 
order  the  translation  of  all  the  notices  I  have  been  able  to  find  in 
the  Arab  geographers  of  the  towns,  villages,  and  other  places 
throughout  the  Province  of  Syria  and  Palestine,  I  have  thought  it 
well  to  add  the  distances  in  "miles,"  or  "  marches,"  "stages," 
and  "  days,"  which  the  various  authorities  give,  as  lying  between 
neighbouring  points  These  distances  will  in  some  cases  fix 
doubtful  positions,  and  in  others  will  serve  to  mark  the  lines  of 
communication  and  the  high-roads  of  commerce  in  use  during  the 
Middle  Ages,  and  in  the  era  of  the  Crusades. 

With  so  many  dates,  so  many  foreign  names,  and  such  a  multi- 
tude of  references  as  crowd  my  pages,  though  I  have  done  my 
best  to  correct  the  proofs,  many  errors  must  necessarily  have 
crept  in.  I  shall  feel  most  grateful  to  any  reader  who  will  point 
these  out  to  me,  and  I  shall  hope,  should  a  second  edition  be 
called  for,  to  profit  by  the  criticisms  and  corrections  of  those  who 
may  find  occasion  to  consult  these  pages. 

G.  LE  S. 


January,   1890. 



CHRONOLOGICAL  TABLE       .  .    xix 

PART    I. 





The  name  Ash  Shdm — Physical  features — Climate — Products — Manners 
and  customs — Festivals — The  Watch-stations  of  the  coast. 

Territorial  Divisions:  The  Junds  or  Military  Districts — Jund 
Filastin— The  Tih,  or  Desert  of  the  Wanderings— The  Jifar— Jund 
al  Urdunn — The  Ghaur — Jund  Dimashk — The  Ghutah  of  Damascus, 
the  Hauran,  and  Bathaniyyah,  Jaulan,  Jaidiir,  and  Hulah — The  Balka 
— Ash  Sharah — Al  Jibal — Jund  Hims — Jund  Kinnasrin — Jund  al 
'Awasim — The  Thughiir — The  Nine  "  Kingdoms  "  of  Syria. 

Tribute  and  1  axes — Weights  and  Measures .  .  .  14 — 51 


SYRIA  AND  PALESTINE  (continued). 

Rivers:  The  Jordan  and  its  tributaries — The  rivers  of  the  coast — The 
rivers  of  Damascus — The  Orontes — Rivers  of  the  northern  provinces. 

Lakes:  The  Dead  Sea— The  Lake  of  Tiberias— The  Hulah— 
Damascus  Lakes — Lakes  of  Hims  and  of  Afamiyyah — Lakes  of 

Mountains:  Sinai — Mount  Hor — The  Mount  of  Olives — Mountain- 
chains  of  Palestine  :  Ebal  and  Gerizim,  Jabal  'Amilah — The  Jaulan 
hills — Lebanon  mountains — Mountains  round  Damascus — Hermon — 
— Jabal  al  Lukkam  ......  52 — 82 





Names  of  the  Holy  City — Advantages  of  Jerusalem — Fertility — Position 
— Territory  of  the  Holy  City. 

The  Mosque  at  Aksa :  The  Prophet's  Night  Journey — The  origin  of 
the  Mosque  al  Aksa — 'Omar's  early  building  and  that  of  'Abd  al 
Malik— Earthquake  of  the  year  130  (746),  and  restoration  of  the 
mosque  by  Al  Mansur  and  Al  Mahdi — The  technical  meaning  of  the 
term  Masjid,  or  Mosque— Mukaddasi's  description  of  the  Aksa  in  985 
— The  Talisman  and  the  Maksurahs— Earthquakes  of  1016  and  1034 
— Inscriptions  relating  to  repairs — Description  of  the  Aksa  by  Nasir- 
i-Khusrau  in  1047 — Dimensions  of  the  mosque — The  Crusades — 
The  mosque  given  over  to  the  Templars — Description  by  Idrisi  and 
'All  of  Herat — Saladin's  reconquest  of  Jerusalem  and  restoration  of 
the  Aksa  in  1187 — Description  by  Mujir  ad  Din  in  1496 — Modern 

The  Dome  of  the  Rock :  The  Rock — The  dome  built  over  it  by 
'Abd  al  Malik  in  691 — Mr.  Fergusson's  theory  disproved — 'Abd  al 
Malik's  great  inscription — Al  Mamun's  inscription  on  the  doors — 
Description  of  the  dome  by  Ibn  al  Fakih  in  903— Arrangement  of 
the  piers  and  pillars — Istakhri  and  Ibn  Haukal's  description — That 
of  Mukaddasi,  985 — The  earthquake  of  1016  and  the  inscriptions 
recording  repairs— Nasir-i-Khusrau's  visit  in  1047 — The  fall  of  the 
great  lantern  in  1060 — The  Crusaders  and  the  Templum  Domini — 
Temple-churches  and  Rafael's  picture  of  the  Sposalizio  —  Idrisi's 
account  in  1154 — 'Ali  of  Herat  in  1173  ;  the  iron  railing  round  the 
Rock,  and  other  details — Pieces  of  the  rock  taken  by  the  Crusaders 
as  relics — Saladin's  restoration — His  great  inscription  in  the  Dome — 
Ibn  Batutah's  visit  in  1355 — Destruction  of  the  Cupola  by  fire  in 
1448 — Suyuti's  description  of  the  Footprint  of  the  Prophet,  the  Cave, 
and  other  marvels— Mujir  ad  Din's  measurements  .  .  83—137 


JERUSALEM  (continued}. 

Traditional  Accounts :  'Omar's  finding  of  the  Rock — The  Service  insti- 
tuted by  the  Khalif 'Abd  al  Malik. 

The  Dome  of  the  Chain :  Minor  domes— The  platform  and  stair- 
ways—The Court  and  the  Haram  Area — The  Cradle  of  Jesus  and 
Stables  of  Solomon — Minor  buildings— Minarets  .  .  138—172 


JERUSALEM  (continued). 


The  Gates  of  the  Haram  Area — The  Colonnades — Size  of  the  Haram 
Area— The  Tanks  and  Pools. 

The  Church  of  the  Resurrection  :  The  Miracle  of  the  Holy  Fire— 
The  Garden  of  Gethsemane — The  Tomb  of  the  Virgin — Pater  Noster 
Church  and  Bethany  —  The  Church  of  the  Ascension  and  of  the 
Jacobites — The  Church  of  Sion  and  Gallicantus. 

City  Gates:  The  Castle—  Wadi  Jahannum  and  the  Tomb  of 

The  Plain,  As  S&hirah  :  The  Pool  of  Siloam— The  Well  of  Job- 
Cavern  of  Korah  .  .  .  .....  ..  ^^  173 — 223 



Description  by  Mukaddasi  in  985  A.D. — The  Great  Mosque — Mosaics- 
City  Gates  —  Other  accounts  —  The  rivers  of  Damascus  —  Villages 
round  the  City — The  Ghautah,  or  Plain,  of  Damascus — The  various 
water-courses — The  Hill  of  Jesus — Ibn  Jubair's  description  of  the 
City  and  Mosque  in  1184 — The  ascent  of  the  Great  Dome — The  two 
descriptions  of  the  Clepsydra  —  Ibn  Batutah's  description  in  1355 
—  Shrines  —  Suburbs  —  Traditions  —  Burning  of  the  Mosque  by 
Timur-Leng  .  .  .  .  ....  .  224 — 273 



Ar  Rakim  and  the  Cave  of  the  Sleepers — Zttghar  (Zoar,  Segor),  the  Cities 
of  Lot,  and  the  Legend  of  Lot's  daughters—^/  Kalt  and  the  Well 
of  the  Leaf—  Urim  and  the  Ancient  Temple — 'Ain  al  Jdrah  and 
the  Menhir — Ba'albakk  and  the  Great  Stones — Bait  Lahm  (Beth- 
lehem) and  the  Basilica  of  Constantine — An  Ndsirah  (Nazareth)  and 
the  Wonderful  Tree  .  .  .  .  .  .  274—302 





Ar  Ramlah,  founded  by  the  Khalif  Sulaiman— The  White  Mosque — 
Hebron:  The  Tombs  of  the  Patriarchs— Visits  to  the  Cave  of  Mach- 
pelah — Invention  of  the  Tomb  of  Joseph.  Acre  ('Akkah)  :  Construc- 
tion of  the  Port  by  Ibn  Tulun.  Tiberias  (Tabariyyah)  :  The  Thermal 
Springs  and  Baths— The  Tomb  of  David  .  .  303— 341 


PROVINCIAL    CAPITALS    AND    CHIEF    TOWNS    (continued}. 

Tyre  (Sur).  Sidon  (Saida).  Tripoli  (Tarabulus,  or  Atrabulus)  :  The  Old 
and  the  New  Town — The  Castles  of  the  Assassins.  Hints  (Emessa)  : 
The  Talisman  against  Scorpions.  Hamah  (Hamath)  :  The  Ancient 
Castle.  Aleppo  (Halab) :  Ibn  Butlan's  Description— The  Castle. 
Antioch  (Antakiyyah)  :  Christian  Churches  and  Convents — Descrip- 
tion by  Ibn  Butlan— The  Great  Storm  of  the  Year  1050  A.D. — 
Tradition  of  Habib  an  Najar.  Tarsus :  The  Frontier  Fortress,  and 
the  Garrison  .......  342 — 378 



SYRIA  ...                         ....  379-556 

APPENDIX.     Note  on  the  builder  of  the  great  Aksa  Mosque      .  .  557 

INDEX 559-604 



CHAIN  .  .  .  ...  .     Frontispiece 

TION OF  AL  MUKADDASI  IN  985  A.D.  .    to  face      99 
TION OF  NASIR-I-KHUSRAU  IN  1047  A.D.         .    to  face     106 
PLAN  OF  THE  AKSA  MOSQUE  AT  THE  PRESENT  DAY  .    to  face     no 

MOSQUE   AT   THE    PRESENT   DAY  „  .     to  face       III 


CHAIN  AT  THE  PRESENT  DAY  .  .  .    to  face     114 


NASIR-I-KHUSRAU,  IN  1047  A.D.          .  .  .126 

PLAN    OF    THE    HARAM    AREA    IN    THE    TIME    OF 

NASIR-I-KHUSRAU,  1047  A.D.  .  .  .    to  face     150 

PLAN  OF  THE  HARAM  AREA  AT  THE  PRESENT  DAY   .    to  face     IT  2 


OF  THE  EAST  WALL  AT  THE  PRESENT  DAY     .    to  face     177 

ANCIENT  DOUBLE  GATE  .  .  .  to  face  181 




ING   UP    FROM    THE   ANCIENT   DOUBLE   GATE      .     to  face      182 


OF  THE  HARAM  AREA.  .  .  .  to  face  183 


OF  THE  HARAM  AREA  .  .  .  to  face  184 


AT   THE    PRESENT    DAY  ....     to  face       226 

PLAN  OF  THE  SANCTUARY  AT  HEBRON      .  .  .     313 

GEOGRAPHERS  .....  to  face  14 


985 — 1052  A.D.  .  .  .  .  to  face  83 


Dates  in  brackets  refer  to  the  years  of  the  Hijrah. 

A.D.  632,  June  (A.H.  n).   Death  of  Muhammad,  Abu  Bakr  Khalh. 
„     634,  Aug.  (13).  'Omar  Khalif. 

,,     634,  Sept.  (13).  Greeks  defeated  on  the  Yarmuk  (Hieromax). 
„     635  (14).    Capitulation  of  Damascus.     Defeat  of  Greeks  at 

Fihl  (Pella).  Jordan  Province  reduced. 

„  636(15).  Emessa  and  Antioch  taken.  Reduction  of  Northern 
Syria.  Defeat  of  Greeks  at  Ajnadain.  Cities  of  Pales- 
tine from  Gaza  to  Nabulus  taken.  Capitulation  of 

„     639  (18).  Mu'awiyah  Governor  of  Syria. 
„     644  (24).  'Othman  Khalif. 
„     656  (35).  'Ali  Khalif. 
„     66 1  (40).    Hasan  succeeds  'Ali,  but  abdicates  in  favour  of 

Mu'awiyah,  first  Khalif  of  the  House  of  Omayyah. 
„     66 1 — 750.   Fourteen  Omayyad  Khalifs  reigning  at  Damascus, 
viz.  : 

Mu'awiyah  I.,  A.D.  66 1  (41).  Yazid  I.,  680  (60). 
Mu'awiyah  II.,  683  (64).  Marwan  I.,  683  (64).  'Abd 
al  Malik,  685  (65).  Al  Walid  I,,  705  (86).  Sulaiman, 
715  (96).  'Omar  ibn  'Abd  al  'Aziz,  717  (99).  Yazid  II., 
720  (101).  Hisham,  724  (105).  Al  Walid  II.,  743  (125). 
Yazid  III.,  744  (126).  Ibrahim.  Marwan  II.,  744  (127) ; 
defeated  and  slain  A.D.  750  (132). 

„  750  (132).  First  of  the  Abbaside  Dynasty,  As  Saffah  Khalif, 
Baghdad  becomes  the  seat  of  their  Government. 
Thirty-seven  Khalifs  in  all,  from  A.D.  750  to  1258 



The  first  fifteen  whose  sovereignty  was  acknowledged  in 

Syria  were : 

As  Saffah  A.D.  750  (132).  Al  Mansur,  754  (136).  Al  Mahdi, 
775  (158).  Al  Hadi,  785  (169).  Ar  Rashid,  786  (170). 
Al  Amin,  809  (193).  Al  Mamun,  813  (198).  Al 
Mu'tasim,  833  (218).  Al  Wathik,  842  (227).  Al  Muta- 
wakkil,  847  (232).  Al  Muntasir,  861  (247).  Al  Musta'in, 
862  (248).  Al  Mu'tazz,  866  (251).  Al  Muhtadi,  869 
(255).  Al  Mu'tamid,  870  (256).  From  A.D.  892  to 
1258  twenty-two  Khalifs  who,  for  the  most  part,  were 
only  acknowledged  as  the  spiritual  sovereigns  of  the 
Muslims  in  Syria. 
A.D.  878  (264).  Ahmad  ibn  Tulun,  Independent  Governor  of 

Egypt,  gains  possession  of  Syria,  which  remains  in  the 

power  of  the  Tulunide  Governors  of  Egypt,  viz.  : 

Ahmad  ibn  Tulun,  A.D.  868  (254)  Khumarawaih,  883  (270). 
Jaish  Abu-1  'Asakir,  895  (282).  Harun,  896  (283),  to 

A.D.  904  (292). 

„     906  (293).    Damascus  and  other  towns  of  Syria  plundered 

during  the  inroad  of  the  Karmathians. 

,,  934 — 969  (323 — 358).  Ikhshidi  Princes  of  Egypt  hold 
Damascus  with  Southern  Syria  and  Palestine,  viz.  : 

Muhammad  al  Ikhshid,  A.D.  934  (323).  Abu-1  Kasim,  946 
(334).  '^,960(349).  Kafur,  966  (355).  Abu-1  Fawaris 
Ahmad,  968  (357). 

j}  944 — 1003  (333 — 394).  Hamdani  Princes  of  Aleppo  hold  the 
Districts  of  Northern  Syria,  viz.  : 

Saif  ad  Daulah,  A.D.  944  (333).     Sa'ad  ad  Daulah,  967  (356). 

Sa'id  ad  Daulah,  991  (381). 

»  969  (358)-  A1  Mu'izz,  fourth  Fatimite  Khalif,  gains  possession 
of  Egypt,  and  drives  the  Ikhshidis  out  of  Southern  Syria 
and  Palestine. 

Fourteen  Fatimite  Khalifs  of  Egypt,  viz.  : 
Al  Mahdi,  A.D.  909  (297).     Al  Kaim,  934  (322).     Al  Mansur, 
945  (334)-     Al  Mu'izz,  952  (341).     Al  'Aziz,  975  (365). 
Al  Hakim,  996  (386).      Adh   Dhahir,   1020  (411).      Al 
Mustansir,   1035  (427).      Al  Musta'ali,   1094  (487).     Al 
Amir,  1101  (495).     Al  Hafiz,  1130  (524).     Adh  Dhafir, 
1149  (544).     Al  Faiz,  1154  (549)-     Ai  Adid,  1160  (555). 
„     1070  (463).  Alp  Arslan,  the  Saljuk,  conquers  Aleppo  and  the 
cities  of  Northern  Syria,  in  the  name  of  the  Abbaside 


Khalif  of  Baghdad,   Al   Kaim.      Ansuz  (or  Atsiz),  the 

Turkoman,  conquers  Jerusalem,  and  afterwards  Tiberias 

and  Damascus  with  their  territories,  in  the  name  of  the 

Abbaside  Khalifs. 
A.D.  1091  (484).  ll  Ghazi  and  Sukman,  sons  of  Ortok,  Governors 

of  Jerusalem. 
„     1096  (489).    Jerusalem  retaken  by  the  Fatimite  General  of 

Al  Musta'ali. 

„     1098(491).  Antioch  and  Ma'arrah  taken  by  the  Crusaders. 
„     1099,  July  (492).  Jerusalem  conquered  by  Godfrey  de  Bouillon. 
Latin  Kings  of  Jerusalem,  viz. : 
Godfrey,  1099;  Baldwin  I.,  iioo;  Baldwin  II.,  1118;  Fulk, 

1131  ;  Baldwin  III.,  1144. 
„     1147.  Second  Crusade;  1148,  failure  of  Siege  of  Damascus; 

1 153,  Ascalon  taken. 

»     JI54  (549)-  Nur  ad  Din  Zanki,  Sultan  of  Damascus. 
„     1169  (565).    Saladin,  his  Lieutenant  in  Egypt;  1171   (566), 

Saladin  proclaims  the  supremacy  of  the  Abbasides,  and 

suppresses  the  Fatimite  Khalifate  of  Egypt. 
Latin  Kings  of  Jerusalem  (continued) : 
Almeric,  1162;  Baldwin  IV.,  1173;  Baldwin  V.,  1186;  Guy 

de  Lusignan,  ii86to  1187. 
„     1174  (569).  Death  of  Nur  ad  Din;  Saladin  takes  possession 

of  Damascus. 

„     1187,  July  (583).  Defeat  of  Crusaders  at  Hattin  ;  Saladin  re- 
conquers Jerusalem. 
„     1188 — 1192.  Third  Crusade;  1191,  Richard  Cceur  de  Lion 

and  Philippe  Auguste  reconquer  Acre. 
»     IJ93  (589)-  Death  of  Saladin ;  he  is  succeeded  by  his  three 

sons  :  Al  Afdal,  at  Damascus  ;  Al  'Aziz,  at  Cairo  ;  Adh 

Dhahir,  at  Aleppo. 

„     1193.  Fourth  Crusade,  loss  of  Jaffa. 
„     1196  (592).    Al  Malik  al  'Adil,  brother  of  Saladin,  becomes 

Sultan  of  Damascus. 

„     1204.  Fifth  Crusade,  Latin  Empire  of  Constantinople. 
„     1218.  Sixth  Crusade,  conquest  of  Damietta. 
„     1229.  Emperor  Frederick   II.   obtains   Jerusalem   by  treaty 

from  Sultan  Kamil  of  Egypt ;  ten  years'  truce. 


A.D.  1240.   Seventh  Crusade,  Richard  Earl  of  Cornwall. 
„     1244.  Jerusalem  sacked  by  the  Kharizmians. 
„     1245.  Eighth  Crusade,  St.  Louis  IX.  takes  Damietta. 
„     1250  (648).  Eibek,  Mamluk  Sultan  of  Egypt. 

From   1250  to  1390  twenty-five  Mamluk  (Bahrite)  sultans  of 

Egypt,  to  whom  Syria  was  dependent. 
,,     1260 — 1277   (658-676).    Hulagu,  grandson  of  Jengis   Khan, 

the  Mongol,  seizes  Damascus  and  Northern  Syria.     The 

Mongols  are  beaten  at  'Am  Jalud  by  Sultan  Kutuz,  of 

Egypt,  who  regains  possession  of  Syria. 
,,     1260(658).      Baibars,    Sultan    of    Egypt;      1265,    captures 

Caesarea,  'Athlith,  Haifa  and  Arsuf ;  1266,  takes  Safed  ; 

1268,  takes  Jaffa,  Shakif  (Beaufort),  and  Antioch. 
,,     1279  (678).  Sultan  Kala'un  of  Egypt.      Campaign  in  Syria, 

sack  of  Tripoli. 
,,      1290  (689).  Sultan  Salah  ad  Din  Khalil  captures  Acre,  Tyre, 

Bairut  and  Sidon. 
„     1390  (792).  Sultan  Barkuk. 

From   1390  to  1516  twenty-four  Mamluk  (Burjite)  sultans  of 

Egypt,  to  whom  Syria  was  nominally  dependent. 
„     1400  (803)  Timur-Leng  conquers  Hamah,  Hims  and  Ba'al- 

bakk ;  1401,  takes  Damascus  and  burns  the  greater  part 

of  the  city. 
,,     1516  (922).  Syria  and  Egypt  conquered  by  Sultan  Selim,  of 



Page  27,  line  i6,for  "  Mitelene,"  read  "  Melitene." 
Page  36,  line  iQ,for  "  Al  Karashiyyah,"  read  "  Al  Kurashiyyah." 
Page  37,  line  36,  for  "  Armoricum,"  read  "  Amorium." 
Page  56,  line  9,  before  "  Khumaruwaih,"  <£&  "  the. " 
Page  81,  line  9,  for  "  Jabal  al  Khalt,"  read  "  Jabal  al  Khait." 
Page  92,  line  2.     See  note  to  this,  Appendix,  p.  557. 
Page  489,  line  7,  for  "  Al  Kuraishiyyah,"  read  "  Al  Kurashiyyah." 
Page  499,  heading  and  line  8,  for  "MITELENE,"  read  " MELITENE." 
Page  544,  line  26,  the  paragraph  on  TARTUS  (TORTOSA)  should  be  added 
to  what  is  given  on  p.  395,  under  the  heading  ANTARTUS. 


PART    I. 


FOR  purposes  of  reference  a  list  is  here  given  of  the  Arab 
geographers  and  historians  whose  works  are  quoted  in  the  follow- 
ing pages.  In  addition  a  short  biographical  summary  is  prefixed 
to  the  indication  of  the  edition  of  the  Arabic  text  from  which  the 
translations  have  been  made.  Further  information  concerning  the 
various  authorities  and  their  works  will  generally  be  found  in  the 
prefaces  of  the  editions  quoted  in  the  present  work. 

The  earliest  extant  Arab  books  on  geography  and  history  date 
from  the  ninth  century  A.D.,  for  it  will  be  remembered  that  the 
Muslims  did  not  begin  to  write  books  until  fully  two  centuries 
had  elapsed  after  the  era  of  the  Flight.  From  this  period,  however, 
that  is,  from  about  the  middle  of  the  ninth  century  and  down  to 
the  end  of  the  fifteenth  of  the  Christian  era,  the  names  of  authors 
follow  each  other  at  very  short  intervals,  and  the  list  shows  over  a 
score  of  writers,  all  Muslims,  and  nearly  all  writing  in  Arabic,  who 
describe  for  us,  sometimes  in  considerable  detail,  the  various 
provinces  of  Syria  and  Palestine. 

The  list  is  long,  but  it  should  be  stated  that  in  many  cases  we 
have  not,  in  the  works  here  named,  exclusively  the  results  of 
personal  observation  or  information  at  first  hand.  Arab  authors 


have  plagiarized,  each  from  his  predecessor,  to  a  very  remarkable 
degree  ;  neither  is  the  debt  always  duly  acknowledged.  Each 
tried  to  make  his  work  as  complete  as  possible  by  incorporating 
therein  all  he  could  gather  from  previous  writers,  adding  some- 
thing from  personal  observation  when  the  author  himself  happened 
to  have  visited  the  places  described.  This  constant  plagiarism, 
though  it  tends  to  decrease  the  amount  of  new  information,  is,  in 
one  way,  not  without  its  value,  since  by  a  comparison  of  the 
borrowed  texts  we  are  enabled  to  correct  the  mistakes  of  copyists 
and  fill  in  many  lacunae. 

The  following  is  the  list  of  our  authorities  : 

1.  Ibn  Khurdadbih.     This  writer  was  a  Persian  by  birth,  as 
his  father's  name  shows,  for  Khurdad-bih  signifies  in  old  Persian 
Good  Gift  of  the  Sun  (as  the  Greeks  would  have  said,  Heliodorus], 
Ibn  Khurdadbih  was  born  about  the  commencement  of  the  third 
century  of   Hijrah  (corresponding  to  the  ninth  of  our  era)  and 
flourished  at  the  court  of  the  Abbaside  Khalif  Al  Mu'tamid,  at 
Baghdad.     Ibn  Khurdadbih  held  the  office  of  Chief  of  the  Post 
in  the  province  of  Jibal,  the  ancient  Media,  and  with  a  view, 
doubtless,  of  instructing  his  subordinates,  compiled  the  "  Hand- 
book of  Routes  and  Countries"  which  has  come  down  to  us  as  one 
of  the  earliest  of  Muslim  geographical  treatises. 

The  translations  here  given  are  made  from  the  Arabic  text 
published  by  C.  Barbier  de  Meynard  in  the  Journal  Asiatique  for 
the  year  1865. 

2.  The  work  of  Biladhuri  is  of  an  entirely  different  order  to  the 
foregoing,  and  only  in  a  very  secondary  sense  geographical.     His 
is  the  earliest  historical  account  we  possess  of  the  Conquests   of 
the  Muslims.     He  was  born  at  Baghdad,  and  received  his  educa- 
tion there  during  the  days  of  the  great  Khalif,  Al  Mamun,  and 
lived  to  enjoy  the  favour  of  both  Al  Mutawakkil  and  Al  Musta'in, 
his  successors.      Biladhuri  wrote   his   "  Book  of  the  Conquests " 
about  the  year  869,  and  died  in  892.     His  work  is  unfortunately 
almost  barren  of  geographical  description,  the  names  of  the  places 
only  being  given,  and  nothing  more ;  all  detail  is  confined  to  the 
ordering  of  the  battles,  and  the  biographical  notices  of  those  who 
took  part  in  the  actions. 


The  translations  are  from  the  text  called  Kitdb  Futuh  al  Buldctn, 
published  by  M.  J.  de  Goeje,  Leiden,  1866. 

3.  Kudamah,  the  author  of  a  work  on  the  revenues  of  the 
Muslim  Empire,  written  about   the  year  880,  was  of  Christian 
origin,  but,   like  most  of  his  compeers,  he  had  found  it  to  his 
advantage  to  embrace  Islam.     He  occupied  the  post  of  accountant 
in  the  Revenue  Department  at  Baghdad,  and  we  know  nothing 
further  of  his  biography  except  that  he  died  in  948. 

A  translation,  with  extracts  from  the  Arabic  text,  is  given  by 
McG.  de  Slane,  under  the  title  of  Kitab  al  Kharaj\  in  the  Journal 
Asiatique  for  1862,  and  from  this  the  details  of  revenues  of  Syria 
inserted  in  Chapter  i.  are  taken. 

4.  Ya'kubi  (also  called  Ibn  Wadhih)  was  both  historian  and  geo- 
grapher.   In  his  History,  which  was  written  as  early  as  the  year  874, 
he  states  that  the  Dome  of  the  Rock  was  the  work  of  the  Khalif 
'Abd  al  Malik,  and  gives  the  reason  that  prompted  this  prince  to 
construct  it.     This  is  the  earliest  account  we  possess  of  the  origin 
of  this  important  building,  and  it  refutes  the  theory  advocated 
by  the   late   Mr.  Fergusson,  that   the   Dome  of  the   Rock  was 
originally  a  Byzantine  church. 

Ya'kubi's  Geography  was  written  many  years  later  than  his 
History,  and  about  the  year  891.  It  unfortunately  has  not  reached 
us  in  a  perfect  state,  but  the  section  relating  to  Syria  is  tolerably 
complete.  The  work  is  curious,  for  it  gives  notes  on  the  settle- 
ments made  by  the  various  Arab  tribes  who  had  migrated  into 
Syria ;  otherwise  the  book  is  little  more  than  a  bare  list  of  pro- 
vinces, with  their  chief  cities,  and  is  only  interesting  for  the 
information  given  of  what  were  the  great  towns  in  those  early 

Of  Ya'kubi's  biography  but  little  is  known.  It  would  appear 
that  he  was  born  in  Egypt,  passed  the  earlier  part  of  his  life  in 
Khurasan  and  the  further  east,  and  came  back  to  spend  his  latter 
years  on  the  banks  of  the  Nile  in  the  land  of  his  birth. 

The  text  of  the  "  Geography  "  was  edited  by  A.  W.  T.  Juynboll, 
Leiden,  1861,  and  it  is  from  this  edition  the  translations  are  made. 
The  text  of  the  "  History"  under  Ya'kubi's  alternative  name  of 
Ibn  Wadhih,  has  been  edited  by  M.  T.  Houtsma,  Leiden,  1883. 

I 2 


5.  Ibn    al   Fakih,  the  author  of  a  very  curious  geographical 
miscellany,  was  a   native  of  Hamadan,  in  Western  Persia,   and 
flourished  during  the  Khalifate  of  Al  Mu'tadhid  at  Baghdad.     He 
wrote  his  work  about  the  year  903,   but  unfortunately  we  only 
possess  it  in  the  form  of  a  somewhat  arbitrary  abridgment  made 
by  a  certain  'AH  Shaizari,  of  whom  little  more  is  known  than  his 
name.      Ibn  al  Fakih  gives  a  careful  description  of  the  Haram 
Area  at  Jerusalem,  and  is  also  the  first  Arab  author  to  describe 
the  great  stones  at  Baalbek,  of  which  he  notes  the  measurements. 

The  text  of  the  epitome  of  his  work  forms  the  fifth  volume  of  the 
Bibliotheca  Geographorum  Arabicorum,  edited  by  M.  J.  de  Goeje, 
Leiden,  1885. 

6.  The  next  name  on  the  list  is  that  of  a  Spanish  Arab,  Ibn 
'Abd  Rabbih,  born  at  Cordova  in  860,  and  died  in  the  same  city 
in  940.     He  composed  an  extremely  interesting  historical  work, 
extending  to  three  volumes  in  the  Cairo  printed  edition,  giving 
details  of  the  life,  and  manners  and  customs,  of  the  pre-Islamic 
Arabs  and  others.     The  book  is  named  "  The  Collar  of  Unique 
Pearls"  and  in  it  there  is  a  chapter  describing  in  great  detail  the 
appearance  of  the  Haram  Area  at  Jerusalem.     Whether  the  author 
ever  visited  the  Holy  City  is  not  known ;  some  parts  of  his  de- 
scription are  identical  with  what  is  found  in  Ibn  al  Fakih's  work, 
just  named  ;  but  many  details  again  vary  from  the  account  there 

The  Arabic  text  has  been  printed  at  Bulak,  Cairo,  in  A.M.  1293 
(1876),  under  the  title  Al  'Ikd  al  Far  id. 

7.  Mas'udi  is  the  author  of  one  of  the  most  entertaining  his- 
torical works  to  be  found  in  the  whole  range  of  Muslim  literature. 
His  "Meadows  of  Gold"  begin  with  the  Creation,  and  recount  all 
the  Arabs  knew  of  universal  history  down  to  the  year  943,  when 
the  work  was  written.     Mas'udi  was  born  in  Baghdad  towards  the 
end  of  the  eighth  century  of  our  era.     In  his  youth  he  travelled 
far  and  wide,  visiting  Multan  and  parts  of  India,  and  passing  through 
Persia  a  second  time  on  his  way  to  India  and  Ceylon,  whence  he 
returned   to   Baghdad    via    Madagascar.      He  travelled  through 
Palestine  in  926,  and  spent  some  time  at  Antioch ;  then  went  and 
settled  in  Egypt  about  the  year  955,  where  he  died  a  year  later,  at 


Fustut,  now  called  Old  Cairo.  Scattered  broadcast  among  his 
many  volumes  of  historic  lore  are  a  number  of  geographical  notes, 
which  are  of  considerable  value,  by  reason  of  the  early  period  at 
which  the  author  wrote,  his  acuteness  of  observation,  and  his 
great  learning. 

The  Arabic  text,  with  a  French  translation,  of  the  "  Meadows  of 
Gold"''  (Muruj  adh  Dhahab}  has  been  published  by  C.  Barbier  de 
Meynard  and  P.  de  Courteille  in  nine  vols.,  Paris,  1861-77  '•>  and 
it  is  from  this  text  the  translations  have  been  made. 

8  and  9.  The  names  of  Istakhri  (who  wrote  in  951),  and  Ibn 
Haukal  (who  wrote  in  978),  must  be  taken  together,  for  the  latter, 
who  is  the  better-known  author  of  the  two,  only  brought  out  an 
amended  and  somewhat  enlarged  edition  of  the  work  of  the  former, 
and  to  which  he  gave  his  own  name.  We  have  in  this  double 
book  the  first  systematic  Arab  geography.  It  is  not  a  mere  Road 
Book,  such  as  is  Ibn  Kurdadbih's  work,  nor  a  Revenue  List,  like 
Kudamah's — but  a  careful  description  of  each  province  in  turn 
of  the  Muslim  Empire,  with  the  chief  cities  and  notable  places. 
Istakhri,  a  native  of  Persepolis,  as  his  name  implies,  states  that  he 
wrote  his  book  to  explain  the  maps  which  had  been  drawn  up  by 
a  certain  Balkhi,  about  the  year  921,  which  maps  are  unfortunately 
not  extant.  Of  Istakhri  and  Ibn  Haukal  all  that  we  know  is  that 
they  were  both  by  trade  merchants,  and  that  they  travelled  far 
and  wide  in  the  pursuit  of  commerce.  All  biographical  details 
of  their  lives  are  wanting. 

The  texts  of  Istakhri  and  Ibn  Haukal  form  the  first  and  second 
volumes  of  M.  J.  de  Goeje's  Bibliotheca  Geographorum  Arabicorum^ 
Leiden,  1870,  1873.  The  translation  is  made  from  whichever  has 
proved  to  be  the  fuller  narrative  of  the  two,  generally  but  not 
invariably  that  found  in  Ibn  Haukal's  work. 

10.  Al  Mukaddasi,  "the  Hierosolomite,"  was  born  at  Jerusalem 
in  946.  He  had  the  advantage  of  an  excellent  education,  and 
after  having  made  the  Pilgrimage  to  Makkah  in  his  twentieth  year, 
determined  to  devote  himself  to  the  study  of  geography.  For  the 
purpose  of  acquiring  the  necessary  information  he  undertook  a 
series  of  journeys  which  lasted  over  a  score  of  years,  and  carried 
him  in  turn  through  all  the  countries  of  Islam.  It  was  only  in 


985  that  he  set  himself  to  write  his  book,  which  gives  us  a  sys- 
tematic account  of  all  the  places  and  regions  he  had  visited.  His 
description  of  Palestine,  and  especially  of  Jerusalem,  his  native 
city,  is  one  of  the  best  parts  of  the  work.  All  he  wrote  is  the 
fruit  of  his  own  observation,  and  his  descriptions  of  the  manners 
and  customs  of  the  various  nations  and  the  physical  features  of 
the  various  countries,  bear  the  stamp  of  a  shrewd  and  observant 
mind,  fortified  by  a  profound  knowledge  of  both  books  and  men. 

The  translation  of  Mukaddasi  I  have  already  given  in  one  of 
the  publications  of  the  Palestine  Pilgrims'  Text  Society,  and  it  is 
made  from  the  Arabic  text  published  as  the  third  volume  of  M.  J. 
de  Goeje's  Bibliotheca  cited  above,  to  which  text  the  pages  given 
have  reference. 

11.  Rather  more  than  half  a  century  later  than  Mukaddasi,  and 
about  half  a  century  before  the  first  Crusade,  the  Persian  traveller, 
Nasir-i-Khusrau,  passed  through  Palestine  on  his  way  to  Makkah. 
He  was  in  Jerusalem  in  1047,  and  his  description  of  the  Holy 
City  and  the  Haram  Area  is  most  minute,  and  extremely  valuable, 
as  being  the  last  we  have  of  the  holy  places  before  the  coming  of 
the  Crusaders.     Nasir  was  born  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Balkh,  in 
1003,  and  during  the  earlier  years  of  his  life  travelled  in  India, 
where  he  lived  for  some  time  at  the  court  of  the  celebrated  Sultan 
Mahmud  of  Ghazni.     He  subsequently  undertook  the  pilgrimage 
to  Makkah,  and  it  was  on  this  occasion  that  he  passed  through 
Palestine  and  sojourned  at  Jerusalem. 

The  portion  of  his  Uiary  having  reference  to  the  Holy  Land  I 
have  translated  (from  the  Persian  original)  in  a  recent  number  of 
the  Palestine  Pilgrims'  Texts.  The  Persian  text  used  is  that 
collated  from  two  MSS.  in  the  British  Museum  (Ad.  18418,  and 
Or.  1991). 

A  French  translation  of  Nasir-i-Khusrau,  with  the  Persian  text 
following,  has  been  given  by  C.  Schefer  under  the  title  of  Sefcr 
Nameh,  Paris,  1881.  The  British  Museum  MSS.,  however,  give 
several  new  and  important  readings,  and  enable  us  to  clear  up  not 
a  few  of  the  obscurities  found  in  the  French  translation. 

12.  Ibn  Butlan's  description  of  Antioch,  and  of  some  other  of 
the  cities  of  Syria,  is  only  known  to  us  by  the  extracts  preserved 


in  Yakut's  great  Geographical  Dictionary  (see  below,  No.  16), 
and  no  copy,  apparently,  of  the  original  work  is  preserved  among 
the  Oriental  manuscript  collections  of  our  European  libraries. 

Yakut  quotes  the  text  verbatim  from  the  Epistle  (Itisdlah), 
which  Ibn  Butlan  addressed  to  his  friend,  Abu'l  Husain  Hillal  ibn 
al  Muhsin  as  Sabi,  at  Baghdad.  The  Epistle  was  written  "  in  the 
year  440  and  odd,"  says  Yakut ;  a  date,  however,  mentioned  inci- 
dentally in  the  course  of  the  narrative,  shows  that  Ibn  Butlan  must 
have  passed  through  Antioch  during  the  year  443  (A.D.  1051). 
Ibn  Butlan  was  a  well-known  Christian  Arab  physician,  and  a 
native  of  Baghdad.  In  439  (A.D.  1047)  he  set  out  from  that  city 
to  visit  his  Egyptian  rival,  the  physician  Ibn  Rudhwan,  at  Cairo, 
and,  going  thence  to  Constantinople,  took  his  return  journey 
through  Antioch.  Here,  age  and  the  vanity  of  human  wisdom 
caused  him  to  abandon  the  world,  and  he  became  a  monk,  dying 
very  shortly  afterwards  at  Antioch,  in  the  year  444  (1052  A.D.). 

1 3.  The  geographer  Idrisi,  is  perhaps  better  known  in  the  west 
than  any  other  Arab  writer  on  this  subject.     As  long  ago  as  1592 
the  text  of  his  book  was  printed  in  Rome.     His  Geography  was 
written  in  1154  at  the  request  of  the  Norman  King,  Roger  II.,  of 
Sicily,  at  whose  court  he  resided.     Idrisi  was  born  at  Ceuta,  but  of 
Spanish- Arab  parents.    He  travelled  much,  for  he  relates  that  he  has 
seen  the  English  and  French  coasts,  and  has  lived  at  Lisbon.     His 
description  of  Palestine  is  excellent,  and  what  he  says  of  Jerusalem 
is  particularly  interesting,  for  he  wrote  of  the  Holy  City  as  it  was 
during  the  occupation  of  the  Crusaders.     Some  authorities  state 
that  he  visited  Asia  Minor  in  the  year  1116,  but  there  is  no  ground 
for  supposing  that  he  went  south  of  this,  or  that  he  had  himself 
visited  the  Holy  Land.     His  information,  therefore,  must  have 
been  derived  from  the  accounts  that  he  obtained  at  the  court  of 
Roger  from  books,  and  from  those  who  had  returned  from  their 
travels  in  that  country. 

The  Arabic  text  from  which  the  present  translations  are  made 
is  that  published  in  the  Transactions  of  the  German  Palastina- 
Verein,  vol.  viii.,  1885,  by  J.  Gildemeister. 

14.  Another  Muslim  who  has  left  us  a  description  of  sites  in 
Palestine  during  Crusading  times  is  'AH  of  Herat,  who  wrote  in 


1173  a  small  work  on  "  The  Places  of  Pilgrimage."  Its  most  in- 
teresting section  is  that  describing  Hebron,  wherein  he  gives  an 
account  of  a  visit  to  the  Cave  of  Machpelah.  'Ali  of  Herat, 
though  of  Persian  origin,  wrote  in  Arabic.  The  text  of  his  work 
has  not  been  printed;  but  the  Bodleian  Library  at  Oxford  possesses 
a  good  MS.  of  the  work  (MS.  E.  D.  Clarkii  17,  civ.,  Uri.\  from 
which  the  translations  given  below  have  been  made. 

7AH  died  at  Aleppo,  where  he  had  lived  and  written  his  book, 
in  the  year  1215. 

15.  In  1185,  two  years  before  Saladin  re-conquered  Jerusalem, 
the  northern  part  of  Palestine  was  visited  by  the  traveller  Ibn 
Jubair,  a  Spanish-Arab,  born  at  Valencia  in  1145.  Ibn  Jubair 
set  out  on  his  travels  from  Granada  in  1183;  he  came  first  to 
Egypt,  went  up  the  Nile,  and  then  across  the  desert  to  Aidhab, 
on  the  Red  Sea,  whence  he  reached  Makkah,  and  subsequently 
Al  Madinah.  Thence  he  crossed  Arabia  to  Kufah  and  Baghdad 
(of  which  he  has  left  a  most  interesting  account) ;  and,  travelling 
up  the  Tigris  bank,  crossed  from  Mosul  to  Aleppo,  came  down  to 
Damascus,  and  thence  on  to  Acre,  where  he  took  ship,  and  ulti- 
mately landed  again  on  Spanish  soil,  at  Carthagena,  in  1185.  Un- 
fortunately for  us  he  did  not  visit  Jerusalem.  He  made  two  other 
voyages  to  the  East  subsequent  to  the  one  above  mentioned,  and 
on  his  return  journey  died  at  Alexandria,  in  Egypt.  His  descrip- 
tion of  the  places  he  saw  is  lively  and  full  of  detail,  although  from 
the  ornate  style  in  which  he  wrote,  a  literal  translation  of  his  Diary 
would  be  tiresome  reading.  His  description  of  Damascus  is  given 
in  Chapter  vi.  of  the  present  work,  and  is  the  fullest  we  possess  of 
that  city  during  the  Middle  Ages. 

The  Arabic  text  of  Ibn  Jubair's  Diary  has  been  published  by 
the  late  Professor  William  Wright,  Leiden,  1852,  and  it  is  to  the 
pages  of  this  work  that  the  references,  in  the  condensed  transla- 
tion given,  refer. 

1 6.  For  the  immense  extent  of  his  labours,  and  the  great  bulk 
of  his  writings,  Yakut  may  certainly  take  first  rank  among  Muslim 
geographers.  By  birth  a  Greek  and  a  slave,  he  was  brought  up  and 
received  a  scientific  education  at  Baghdad,  in  the  house  of  his 
master,  who  was  a  merchant.  The  details  of  his  biography  would 


take  too  long  to  recount — suffice  it  to  say  that,  at  various  periods 
of  his  wandering  life,  he  sojourned  at  Aleppo,  Mosul,  Arbela,  and 
Marv;  and  that  he  fled  from  this  latter  city  (in  those  days  renowned 
for  its  numerous  libraries)  in  1220,  on  the  advent  of  the  armies  of 
Jcnghis  Khan.  Travelling  across  Persia  and  through  Mesopotamia, 
Yakut  ultimately  reached  Syria,  and  settled  down  at  Aleppo,  in 
which  city  he  died  in  1229.  His  great  Geographical  Lexicon, 
which  describes  in  alphabetical  order  every  town  and  place  of 
which  the  author  could  obtain  any  information,  was  completed  in 
the  year  1225.  It  is  a  storehouse  of  geographical  information, 
the  value  of  which  it  would  be  impossible  to  over-estimate  ;  for 
the  book  gives  a  detailed  account,  as  seen  in  the  thirteenth  century, 
of  all  the  countries  and  towns  in  Muslim  lands,  from  Spain,  in  the 
West,  to  beyond  Transoxiana  and  India,  in  the  East.  Some  idea 
of  the  mass  of  information,  both  geographical  and  historical, 
therein  contained,  may  perhaps  be  gathered  from  the  statement 
that  the  Arabic  text,  as  printed  at  the  cost  of  the  German  Oriental 
Society,  covers  close  on  4,000  pages,  large  8vo ;  and  that  an 
English  translation,  with  the  needful  notes,  would  occupy  from 
double  to  treble  that  space. 

Yakut  also  wrote  a  useful  dictionary  of  Geographical  Homonyms, 
being  a  list  of  different  places  that  have  identical  names. 

The  great  Geographical   Dictionary  referred  to  above,   called 

Mrfjam  al  Buldan — "The  Alphabetical  (Dictionary)  of  Geography" 

— is  edited  by  Professor  Wiistenfeld  in  six  volumes,  Leipsic,  1866. 

The  Dictionary  of  Homonyms,  called  Al  Mushtarik,  is  edited  by 

'  the  same  Orientalist,  and  was  published  at  Gottingen  in  1846. 

17.  Three-quarters  of  a  century  after  Yakut  had  finished  his 
great  Dictionary,  his  work  was  epitomized  by  a  certain  Safi  ad 
Din.  He  added  some  few  articles  of  his  own,  and  cut  down  all 
the  descriptions  of  places  found  in  Yakut,  giving  to  each  name 
but  a  single  line  of  text.  The  work  is  entitled  Marasid  al  Ittila 
—"The  Watch-Tower  of  Informations."  Of  the  epitomist,  Safi 
ad  Din,  nothing  is  known,  and  even  his  name  is  somewhat  a 
matter  of  doubt;  but  the  year  1300  must  have  been  approximately 
the  date  of  his  work,  for  he  mentions  as  a  recent  occurrence  the 
taking  of  Acre  in  1291.  The  text  of  the  Marasid  has  been 


edited  by  T.  G.  J.  Juynboll  (Leiden,  1859);  but  since  this  edition 
has  been  brought  out,  Professor  Wiistenfeld  has  collated  a  MS. 
belonging  to  Lord  Lindsay,  which  gives  some  additions  to  the 
printed  text.  These  have  been  added  by  Professor  Wiistenfeld  to 
vol.  v.  of  his  edition  of  Yakut  at  pp.  11-32. 

1 8.  Dimashki,  born  in  1256  at  Damascus  (as  his  name  implies), 
wrote,  about  the  year  1300,  a  jejune  description  of  his  native  land, 
which,  however;  affords,  on  certain  points,  many  curious  details  of 
the  state  of  the  country  after  the  departure  of  the  Crusaders.     He 
was  a  contemporary  of  Sultan  Bibars,  and  his  work  is  of  value  in 
connection  with  the  Crusading  Chronicles.     He  died  at  Safed  in 


The  text  of  Dimashki  has  been  printed  in  Petersburg,  in  1866, 
by  M.  A.  F.  Mehren,  and  it  is  from  this  edition  that  the  transla- 
tions have  been  made. 

19.  Abu-1  Fida,  some  time  Prince  of  Hamah,  and  a  collateral 
descendant  of  the  great  Saladin,  is  a  geographer  of  far  higher 
merit  than  Dimashki.     His  chapter  on  Syria  and  Palestine  is,  for 
the  most  part,  not  copied  from  books ;  for  since  he  is  describing 
his    native  country,   he  writes  from   personal  observation.     The 
work  was  completed  in   1321.     Abu-1  Fida  himself  was  born  at 
Damascus   in   1273.     He   lived    under  the    Mamluk   Sultans    of 
Egypt — Kalaun,   Lajun,   and    Malik  an   Nasir — and  was    named 
Governor  of  Hamah  in  1310,  in  which  city  he  died  in  1331. 

The  Arabic  text  of  Abu-1  Fida's  Geography  was  published  by 
Reinaud  and  De  Slane  (Paris,  1840),  and  this  is  the  edition 

20.  Ibn    Batutah,  the    Berber,  may  well    take   rank  with    the 
Venetian,  Marco  Polo,*  for  the  marvellous  extent  of  his  journey- 
ings.     He  was  born  at  Tangiers  about  the  year  1300,  and  at  the 
age  of  twenty-five  set  out  on  his  travels.     Of  these  he  has  left  us 
a  full  description,  written  in  the  year   1355.     His  route  in  the 
barest  outline  is  all  that  can  here  be  indicated.     Starting  from 
Morocco,  he  visited   in    succession    Tunis,    Tripoli,  and    Egypt. 
Going  up  through  Palestine  and  Syria,  he  accompanied  the  Hajj 

*  Marco  Polo  returned  to  Venice  in  1295,  and  wrote  his  travels  when  in 
captivity  at  Genoa  about  the  year  1300. 


to  Madman  and  Makkah,  went  thence  on  through  Mesopotamia 
to  Persia,  and,  returning,  spent  some  months  at  Baghdad, 
and  subsequently  at  Mosul.  From  Mosul  he  went  again  to 
Makkah,  and  from  there  travelled  through  Yemen,  and  so  back  to 
Egypt.  From  Egypt  he  took  ship  for  Asia  Minor,  and  afterwards 
visited  Constantinople,  the  Crimea,  Astrakhan,  Kharizim,  Tartary, 
Transoxiana,  Afghanistan,  and  finally  reached  India,  where  he 
spent  a  considerable  time  at  Delhi.  From  India  he  sailed  to  the 
Maldive  Islands  and  Ceylon,  taking  them  on  his  way  to  China  ; 
and  on  the  return  journey  visited  Sumatra.  After  long  voyaging 
in  the  Indian  Ocean,  he  again  found  himself  at  Makkah,  and 
from  that  holy  city  took  his  way  home  to  Fez,  via  the  Sudan  and 
Timbuctoo.  He  subsequently  visited  Spain  ;  and  died  at  Fez,  at 
an  advanced  age,  in  the  year  1377. 

Ibn  Batutah's  account  of  what  he  saw  in  Palestine  is  often 
curious,  and  his  description  of  Jerusalem  gives  a  few  details  not 
found  elsewhere ;  but  his  style  is  verbose  and  bombastic,  and  he 
too  often  copies  from  his  predecessor,  Ibn  Jubair,  to  be  of  much 
value  as  an  original  authority. 

Ibn  Batutah's  text,  with  a  French  translation,  has  been  pub- 
lished by  C.  Defremery  and  B.  R.  Sanguinetti,  at  the  cost  of  the 
Societc  Asiatique,  in  four  volumes,  Paris,  1879  ;  and  this  is  the 
edition  quoted  in  the  present  work. 

21.  Muthir  al  Ghiram,  or,  "  The  Exciter  of  Desire  "  (for  Visi- 
tation of  the  Holy  City  and  Syria),  is  by  a  native  of  Jerusalem 
called  Jamal  ad  Din  Ahmad,  who  wrote  a  topographical  descrip- 
tion of  the  Holy  City  in  the  year  1351.     Excellent  MSS.  of  this 
work,   which  has  never  yet  been  printed,   are  preserved  in  the 
Bibliotkeque  Nationale  at  Paris,  and  from  these  the  translations 
given  have  been  made.     For  a  full  description  of  the  MSS.,  and 
an  account  of  Jamal  ad  Din's  life,  I  may  refer  to  my  paper  on 
Suyuti  (who  has  copied  Jamal  ad  Din),  in  the  Journal  of  the  Royal 
Asiatic  Society,  vol.  xix  ,  new  series,  p.  250. 

22.  The  second  Muthir  \s  a  work  with  the  same  name  as  the 
above,  but  written  by  a  certain  Abu-1  Fida  Ishak,  of  Hebron,  who 
died  in  1430.     He  describes  the  Sanctuary  of  that  city,  and  the 
Tombs  of  the  Patriarchs.     Details  of  the  MSS.  from  which  my 


translation  has  been  made  (for  the  Arabic  text  of  the  work  has 
never  been  printed)  will  be  found  in  the  paper  cited  above. 

23.  Shams  ad   Din  Suyuti    (not  to   be   confounded   with    his 
better-known   namesake,   who  bore  the   title  of  Jamal   ad  Din) 
visited  Jerusalem  in  1470,  and  shortly  after  wrote  a  description  of 
the  Holy  City,  entitled  Ithaf  al  Akhissa,  "  A  Gift  for  Intimates" 
(concerning  the  merits  of  the  Aksa  Mosque).     In  this  work  he 
largely  plagiarizes  from  the  two  Muthirs  mentioned  above  (Nos.  2 1 
and  22),  as  I  have  shown  in  the  paper  in  the  J.  R.  A.  S.  already 
mentioned.     Quotations  from  Suyuti  give  references  to  the  pages 
of  the  J.  R.  A.  S.,  vol.  xix.,  new  series. 

24.  Mujir  ad  Din,   the  last  name  on  the  list,   though  better 
known  than  the  three  preceding  topographers,  has  done  little  more 
than  reproduce  verbatim  the  descriptions  given  by  the  authors  of 
the  two  Muthirs  and  Suyuti. 

The  work  of  Mujir  ad  Din,  who  wrote  his  Uns  al  Jalil  in  1496, 
has  been  translated  into  French  by  H.  Sauvaire  (Histoire  de 
Jerusalem  et  <T  Hebron,  Paris,  1876);  the  Arabic  text  also  has 
been  printed  at  Bulak  (Cairo),  A.M.  1283  (1866),  and  it  is  to 
this  text  that  the  pages  given  in  the  present  translations  refer. 

Mujir  ad  Din,  besides  what  he  copies  verbatim  from  his  prede- 
cessors, gives  a  full  account  of  the  various  mosques,  colleges, 
shrines,  tombs,  and  holy  places  in  Jerusalem,  and  also  a  descrip- 
tion of  the  quarters  and  streets  of  the  Holy  City  as  these  existed 
at  the  close  of  the  fifteenth  century. 

In  the  present  work  the  purely  topographical  details  of  the  City 
given  by  Mujir  ad  Din  have  not  been  inserted,  the  translations 
made  from  his  work  being  confined  to  such  additional  information 
on  the  older  buildings  of  the  Hararn  Area  and  neighbouring  sites 
as  seemed  of  importance  in  connection  with  the  statements  of 
previous  writers. 

Besides  the  above  authorities  I  have  sought  to  verify  dates  of 
historical  events  by  references  to  the  pages  of  the  great  Chronicles 
of  Tabari,  and  of  Ibn  al  Athir.  The  text  of  the  former  Chronicle 
is  now  in  course  of  publication  at  Leiden,  under  the  editorship  of 


M.  J.  de  Goeje  ;  and  it  is  to  the  various  volumes  of  this  edition 
that  the  quotations  here  given  refer.  Ibn  al  Athir's  Chronicle 
has  been  edited  in  Arabic  in  fourteen  volumes,  by  C.  J.  Tornberg, 
Leiden,  1867-76. 

The  various  publications  of  the  Palestine  Exploration  Fund 
(P.E.F.)  Survey  of  Western  Palestine,  as  embodied  in  the  Memoirs 
(in  three  volumes),  the  volume  on  Jerusalem,  and  the  Special 
Papers,  also  the  numbers  of  the  Quarterly  Statement,  will  often 
be  found  quoted  in  the  following  pages  ;  as  also  the  publications 
of  the  Palestine  Pilgrims'  Text  Society  (P.P.T.),  which  describe 
the  Holy  Land  in  the  days  of  the  Crusaders  and  the  early 
Christian  Pilgrims. 

The  following  list  gives  the  initials  under  which  reference  is 
made  to  the  works  of  the  Arab  geographers  and  travellers  in  the 
editions  named  in  the  foregoing  pages  : 



I.  (I.  Kh.) 

Ibn  Khurdadbih  wrote 

.     circa  864 


2.    (Bil.) 




3.  (Kud.) 


.     circa  880 


(  "  History  " 



4.  (Yb.) 

(  "  Geography  "        ... 



5-  (LF.) 

Ibn  al  Fakih 



6.  (I.R.) 

Ibn  'Abd  Rabbin       . 

.     circa  913 


7.  (Mas.) 

Mas'ddi          .                     -   . 



8.  (Is.) 




9-  (I.H.) 

Ibn  Haukal    . 



10.  (Muk.) 

Mukaddasi     .             . 



ri.  (N.  Kh.) 





Ibn  Butlan  (in  Yakftt) 



13.    (Id.) 

Idrisi  . 



14.  (A.H.) 

'Ali  of  Herat  . 



15-  dj.) 

Ibn  Jubair      .             .^          ., 



1  6.  (Yak.) 




17-  (Mar.) 

The  author  of  the  Mardsid   . 



18.  (Dim.) 

Dimashki       .             .             ., 

.  circa  1300 


19.  (A.F.) 

Abu-1-Fida     .             . 



20.    (I.E.) 

Ibn  Batutah  .             .             . 



21.  (Muth.  I.) 

The  author  of  the  first  Muthtr 



22.   (Muth.  II.) 

The  author  of  the  second  MutMr 



23.  (S.) 

Shams  ad  Din  Suyuti            :. 



24.  (M.a.D.) 

Mujir  ad  Din.             . 





The  name  "Ash  Sham."— Physical  features.— Climate. —Prod nets.  —  Manners 
and  customs. — Festivals. — The  Watch-stations  of  the  coast. 

Territorial  Divisions:  The  "Junds,"  or  Military  Districts.— Jund 
Filastin.— The  Tih,  or  Desert  of  the  Wanderings.— The  Jifar.— Jund  al 
Urdunn.— The  Ghaur.— Jund  Dimashk.— The  Ghutah  of  Damascus,  the 
Hauran,  and  Bathaniyyah,  Jaulan,  jaidur,  and  Iluiah. — The  Balka.—  -  A>h 
Sharah. — Al  Jibal. — Jund  Hims. — Jund  Kinnasrin. — Jund  'Awasim. — The 
Thughur. — The  Nine  "Kingdoms"  of  Syria. 

Tribute  and  7 axes. —  Weights  and  Measures. 

SYRIA — a  name  first  given  by  the  Greeks  to  the  country  lying  im- 
mediately round  Sdr,  or  Tyre,  and  which  afterwards  came  to  be 
applied  by  them  to  the  whole  province — was  never  adopted  by  the 
Arabs  as  a  general  term  for  the  lands  on  the  eastern  border  of  the 
Mediterranean.  The  whole  of  the  great  and  fertile  tract  of  moun- 
tain-land and  plain,  generally  known  to  us  as  Syria  and  Palestine, 
extending  from  the  Cilician  Passes  on  the  north,  to  the  desert  of 
Egypt  on  the  south,  and  bounded  on  the  west  and  east  by  the  sea 
and  the  desert  of  Arabia  respectively,  the  Arabs  called  Ash  Sham, 
that  being  an  ancient  Arabic  word  for  "  left,"  (or  "  north  ")  when 
the  speaker  faced  the  rising  sun.  Another,  and  more  fanciful, 
etymology  of  this  name  is  also  given  by  Mukaddasi  and  others  : — 
"  It  has  been  said  that  Syria  is  called  '  Sham,'  "  says  Mukaddasi, 
"  because  it  lies  on  the  left  of  the  Ka'abah,  and  also  because  those 
who  journey  thither  (from  the  Hijjaz)  bear  to  the  left  or  north  ;  or 
else  it  may  be  because  there  are  in  Syria  so  many  Beauty-spots, 
such  as  we  call  Shamat — red,  white  and  black — (which  are  the 
fields  and  gardens  held  to  resemble  the  moles  on  a  beauty's  face)/' 
(Muk.,  152.) 


1 1 


The  same  author  continues  : 

"Syria  is  very  pleasantly  situated.  The  country,  physically, 
may  be  divided  into  four  zones.  The  first  zone  is  that  on  the 
border  of  the  Mediterranean  Sea.  It  is  the  plain-country,  the 
sandy  tracts  following  one  another,  and  alternating  with  the  culti- 
vated land.  Of  towns  situated  herein  are  Ar  Ramlah,  and  also 
all  the  cities  of  the  sea-coast.  The  second  zone  is  the  mountain- 
country,  well  wooded,  and  possessing  many  springs,  with  frequent 
villages,  and  cultivated  fields.  Of  the  cities  that  are  situated  in 
this  part  are :  Bait  Jibril,  Jerusalem,  Nabulus,  Al-Lajjun,  Kabul, 
Kadas,  the  towns  of  the  Bika'  and  Antioch.  The  third  zone  is 
that  of  the  valleys  of  the  (Jordan)  Ghaur,  wherein  are  found  many 
villages  and  streams,  also  palm-trees,  well  cultivated  fields,  and 
indigo  plantations.  Among  the  towns  in  this  part  are  Wailah, 
Tabuk,  Sughar,  Jericho,  Baisan,  Tiberias,  Baniyas.  The  fourth 
zone  is  that  bordering  on  the  Desert.  The  mountains  here  are 
high  and  bleak,  and  the  climate  resembles  that  of  the  Waste ;  but 
it  has  many  villages,  with  springs  of  water  and  forest  trees.  Of 
the  towns  therein  are  Maab,  'Amman,  Adhra'ah,  Damascus,  Hims, 
Tadmur,  and  Aleppo."  (Muk.,  186.) 

"  The  climate  of  Syria  is  temperate,  except  in  that  portion  which 
lies  in  the  centre  region  of  the  province,  between  Ash  Sharah 
(Mount  Seir)  and  Al  Hulah  (the  waters  of  Merom) ;  and  this  is 
the  hot  country  where  grow  the  indigo-tree,  the  banana,  and  the 
palm.  One  day  when  I  (Mukaddasi)  was  staying  in  Jericho,  the 
physician  Ghassan  said  to  me,  '  Seest  thou  this  valley  ?'  (that  is, 
the  Jordan  Ghaur).  '  Yes,'  I  answered.  And  he  continued,  '  It 
extends  from  hence  as  far  as  the  Hijjaz,  and  thence  through  Al 
Yamamah  to  'Oman  and  Hajar ;  thence  passing  up  by  Basrah  and 
Baghdad  towards  the  left  (west)  of  Mosul,  it  reaches  to  Ar  Rakkah, 
and  it  is  always  a  Wady  of  heat  and  of  palm-trees.' " 

"  The  coldest  place  in  Syria  is  Ba'albakk  and  the  country 
round,  for  among  the  sayings  of  the  people  it  is  related  how,  when 
men  asked  of  the  cold,  'Where  shall  we  find  thee  ?'  it  was 
answered,  *  In  the  Balka ;'  and  when  they  further  said,  *  But  if  we 
meet  thee  not  there  ?'  then  the  cold  added,  '  Verily  in  Ba'albakk 
is  my  home.' " 


"  Now  Syria  is  a  land  of  blessing,  a  country  of  cheapness, 
abounding  in  fruits,  and  peopled  by  holy  men.  The  upper  pro- 
vince, which  is  near  the  dominions  of  the  Greeks,  is  rich  in 
streams  and  crops,  and  the  climate  of  it  is  cold.  And  the  lower 
province  is  even  more  excellent,  and  pleasanter,  by  reason  of  the 
lusciousness  of  its  fruits  and  in  the  great  number  of  its  palm-trees. 
But  in  the  whole  country  of  Syria  there  is  no  river  carrying  boats, 
except  only  for  the  ferry."  (Muk.,  179.) 

"  Unequalled  is  this  land  of  Syria  for  its  dried  figs,  its  common 
olive-oil,  its  white  bread,  and  the  Ramlah  veils  ;  also  for  the 
quinces,  the  pine-nuts  called  *  Kuraish-bite,'  the  'Ainuni  and  Duri 
raisins,  the  Theriack-antidote,  the  herb  of  mint,  and  the  rosaries  of 
Jerusalem.  And  further,  know  that  within  the  province  of 
Palestine  may  be  found  gathered  together  six-and-thirty  products 
that  are  not  found  thus  united  in  any  other  land.  Of  these  the 
first  seven  are  found  in  Palestine  alone ;  the  following  seven  are  very 
rare  in  other  countries ;  and  the  remaining  two-and-twenty,  though 
only  found  thus  gathered  together  in  this  province,  are,  for  the 
most  part,  found  one  and  another,  singly,  in  other  lands.  Now  the 
first  seven  are  the  pine-nuts,  called  '  Kuraish-bite,'  the  quince  or 
Cydonian-apple,  the  'Ainuni  and  the  Duri  raisins,  the  Kafuri  plum, 
the  fig  called  As  Saba'i,  and  the  fig  of  Damascus.  The  next 
seven  are  the  Colocasia  or  water  lily,  the  sycamore,  the  carob  or  St. 
John's  bread  (locust-tree),  the  lotus-fruit  or  jujube,  the  artichoke, 
the  sugar-cane,  and  the  Syrian  apple.  And  the  remaining  twenty- 
two  are  the  fresh  dates  and  olives,  the  shaddock,  the  indigo  and 
juniper,  the  orange,  the  mandrake,  the  Nabk  fruit,  the  nut,  the 
almond,  the  asparagus,  the  banana,  the  sumach,  the  cabbage,  the 
truffle,  the  lupin,  and  the  early  prune,  called  At  Tari ;  also  snow, 
buffalo-milk,  the  honey-comb,  the  'Asimi  grape,  and  the  Tamri — or 
date-fig.  Further,  there  is  the  preserve  called  Kubbait ;  you  find, 
in  truth,  the  like  of  it  in  name  elsewhere,  but  of  a  different 
flavour.  The  lettuce  also,  which  everywhere  else,  except  only  at 
Ahwaz  (in  Persia),  is  counted  as  a  common  vegetable,  is  here  in 
Palestine  a  choice  dish.  However,  at  Basrah,  too,  it  is  held 
superior  to  the  more  common  vegetables."  (Muk.,  181.) 

Some  few  of  these  items  require  explanation  : — The  Theriack, 


called  in  Arabic  Taryak,  borrows  its  name  from  the  Greek 
@r,pia'/.6v  <j>dp!J,ar.wt  "a  drug  against  venomous  bites."  It  was 
generally  compounded  with  treacle  and  other  ingredients  of  most 
varied  description. 

"  Kuraish-bite,"  according  to  our  dictionaries,  is  the  fruit  of  the 
Finns  picea  and  also  of  the  smaller  Snobur-pine,  Strobili pint. 

The  Sugar-cane  was  cultivated  during  the  Middle  Ages  in  many 
parts  of  Syria  and  Palestine,  especially  at  Tripoli  on  the  sea-coast 
(see  Part  II.,  Tarabulus\  and  in  the  hot  Jordan  Ghaur.  Every- 
where in  this  district  the  traveller  at  the  present  day  meets  with 
ruined  mills  for  crushing  the  cane,  named  Tawdhln  as  Sukkdr. 
The  cultivation  of  the  cane  was  introduced  into  western  countries 
from  Kuzistan  in  Persia,  and,  throughout  the  Middle  Ages,  Shuster 
(the  ancient  Susa)  was  renowned  for  this  manufacture  on  a  large 
scale.  The  art  of  sugar-refining  was  very  extensively  practised  by 
the  Arabs,  and  under  their  dominion  the  growth  of  the  cane  and 
the  manufacture  of  sugar  spread  far  and  wide,  from  India  eastward 
to  Morocco,  and  was  introduced  into  Europe  through  the  Muslim 
conquests  in  Spain  and  Sicily. 

In  regard  to  the  Orange,  the  researches  of  Gallesio  have  proved 
that  India  was  the  country  from  which  this  fruit  spread  first  to 
Western  Asia,  and  eventually  to  Europe.  From  remote  antiquity 
the  orange  has  been  cultivated  in  Hindustan,  and  before  the  close 
of  the  ninth  century  the  bitter  variety  seems  to  have  been  well 
known  to  the  Arabs,  who  had  introduced  it  into  the  countries  of 
South-Western  Asia.  Mas'udi,  who  wrote  in  the  year  943  (332), 
has  the  following  account  of  the  acclimatization  of  orange  and 
citron  trees  : 

"  The  orange-tree  (Shajar  an  JVdranj\  and  the  tree  bearing 
the  round  citron  (al  Utrnj  al  mudawwar\  have  been  brought  from 
India  since  the  year  300  A.M.  (912  A.D.),  and  were  first  planted  in 
'Oman.  Thence  they  were  carried  by  caravans  from  Al  Basrah  into 
'Irak  and  Syria.  The  trees  have  now  become  very  numerous  in 
the  houses  of  the  people  of  Tarsus  and  other  of  the  Syrian  frontier 
towns ;  also  in  Antioch  and  in  all  the  Syrian  coast  towns,  with 
those  of  Palestine  and  Egypt,  where,  but  a  short  time  ago,  they 
were  unknown.  The  fruit,  however,  has  lost  its  original  perfume 


and  flavour,  as  also  the  fine  colour  it  shows  in  India,  and  this  is 
because  of  the  change  from  the  peculiar  soil  and  climate  and 
water  of  its  native  land."  (Mas.,  ii.  438.) 

The  Mandrake,  called  in  Arabic  Luffah,  is  the  Fructus  atropce 
Mandragorce,  of  botanists.  Its  root  is  called  Yabriih  by  the 
Arabs,  and  is  poisonous,  while  its  fruit  is  edible. 

In  his  chapter  on  Egypt,  Mukaddasi  describes  the  Nabk  as  "  a 
fruit  of  the  size  of  the  medlar  (Zu'riir).  It  contains  numerous 
kernels,  and  is  sweet.  It  is  the  fruit  of  the  Sidr  (the  tree-lotus). 
To  the  fruit  they  add  (the  sweet  paste  called)  Nidah,  which 
is  the  same  as  Samanu,  only  more  finely  prepared,  and  then 
spread  it  out  on  reed-matting  until  it  dries  and  sticks  together  " 
(Muk.,  204).  "  Samanu  "  is  a  sweet  paste  that  is  well  known  at 
the  present  day  all  over  Persia,  and  "  Nidah  "  is  the  sweetmeat  for 
which  the  town  of  Menshiyyeh  in  Egypt,  is  famous. 

The  preserve  called  "  Kubbait,"  also  called  Kubbat^m^.  Kubbad, 
is  a  sweetmeat  made  with  carob-sugar,  almonds,  and  pistachio 

Mukaddasi,  continuing  his  account,  gives  the  following  details 
of  the  commerce  of  Syria  in  the  tenth  century  : 

"  The  trade  of  Syria  is  considerable. 

"  From  Palestine  come  olives,  dried  figs,  raisins,  the  carob- 
fruit,  stuffs  of  mixed  silk  and  cotton,  soap  and  kerchiefs. 

"  From  Jerusalem  come  cheeses,  cotton,  the  celebrated  raisins 
of  the  species  known  as  'Ainuni  and  Duri,  excellent  apples, 
bananas — which  same  is  a  fruit  in  the  form  of  a  cucumber,  but 
when  the  skin  is  peeled  off,  the  interior  is  not  unlike  the  water- 
melon, only  finer  flavoured  and  more  luscious — also  pine  nuts  of 
the  kind  called  '  Kuraish-bite,'  and  their  equal  is  not  found  else- 
where ;  further,  mirrors,  lamp-jars,  and  needles. 

"  From  Jericho  is  brought  excellent  indigo. 

"  From  Sughar  and  Baisan  come  both  indigo  and  dates,  also  the 
treacle  called  Dibs. 

"  From  'Amman — grain,  lambs,  and  honey. 

"  From  Tiberias — carpet  stuffs,  paper,  and  cloth. 

"  From  Kadns — clothes  of  the  stuffs  called  Munayyir  and 
£afmyyah,  also  ropes. 


"  From  Tyre  come  sugar,  glass  beads  and  glass  vessels  both 
cut  and  blown. 

"  From  Maab — almond  kernels. 

"  From  Baisan  —rice. 

"  From  Damascus  come  all  these  :  olive-oil  fresh-pressed,  the 
Bafhiyyah  cloth,  brocade,  oil  of  violets  of  an  inferior  quality, 
brass  vessels,  paper,  nuts,  dried  figs,  and  raisins. 

"  From  Aleppo,  cotton,  clothes,  dried  figs,  dried  herbs,  and  the 
red-chalk  called  Al  Maghrah. 

"  Ba'albakk  produces  the  sweetmeat  of  dried  figs  called  Malban" 
(Muk.,  180.) 

In  the  above  lists  some  items  demand  explanation  : — The  Dibs 
treacle  is  boiled-down  fruit-syrup.  It  is  often  made  from  dates 
or  raisins,  steeped  in  their  own  weight  of  water,  boiled  up  and 
then  allowed  to  simmer ;  the  mass  being  finally  set  in  the  sun  to 
dry,  when  a  paste-like  residue  is  left  behind. 

The  Paper  here  mentioned  is  the  cotto //-paper,*  known  as 
Charta  datnascena,  or  Bombydna  during  the  Middle  Ages,  which 
the  Arabs  had  learnt  the  art  of  making  after  their  capture  of 
Samarkand  in  A.D.  704.  Although  as  early  as  the  tenth  century 
Bombycinum  was  used  at  Rome,  this  cotton-paper  did  not  come 
into  general  use  throughout  Europe  much  before  the  middle  of 
the  thirteenth  century,  and  tinea-paper  was  first  made  in  the 
fourteenth  century. 

The  cloth  called  Munayyir  was  of  double  woof,  and  celebrated 
for  its  durability,  being  chiefly  manufactured  at  Shiraz  and  Ray 
(Rhages),  in  Persia,  where  it  was  known  by  the  name  of  Daibud. 
Of  the  BaVlsiyyah  no  details  are  given  in  the  dictionaries. 

The  red-chalk  called  Maghrah  is  the  mineral  Rubrica  Sinopica, 
much  used  by  the  druggists  of  the  Middle  Ages  in  the  concoction 
of  specifics.  It  was  especially  employed  in  the  clyster,  and  as  a 
remedy  in  cases  of  liver  disease  ;  for  which  it  is  recommended  by 

*  That  Charta  Bombydna  was  made  from  cotton  is  the  generally  received 
statement,  which,  however,  M.  C.  M.  Briquet  has  recently  controverted. 
According  to  this  last  authority,  Botnbycina  was  made  from  hemp  and  the 
remains  of  old  ropes.  See  his  work  La  Lcgcnde  Palcographique  dn  Papier  de 
Coton,  Geneve,  1884. 

2 — 2 


The  Malban  sweetmeat  is  noticed  by  the  Jewish  doctor 
Maimonides,  who  calls  it  "  Malben  "  (in  Hebrew7),  and  describes  it 
as  made  of  figs  pressed  into  the  form  of  small  bricks. 

Treating  of  the  mineral  products  of  Syria,  Mukaddasi  continues  : 
"  There  are  iron-mines  in  the  mountains  above  Bairut,  and 
near  Aleppo  is  found  the  red-chalk  called  Maghrah.  It  is  here  of 
excellent  quality  ;  at  'Amman,  wrhere  it  is  also  found,  it  is  less  good. 
Throughout  Syria  there  are  met  with  many  mountains  of  a  reddish 
colour,  the  rocks  of  which  are  known  as  of  the  Samakah  (or  red- 
sandstone),  which  same  is  easily  quarried.  Also  other  mountains 
of  a  whitish  colour,  formed  of  what  is  called  Hawwarah  (or  wliite- 
chalk)  ;  this  is  soft,  and  they  use  it  to  whitewash  the  ceilings,  and 
for  the  cementing  of  the  terrace-roofs  of  the  houses.  In  Pales- 
tine there  are  quarries  of  good  white  building-stone ;  and  near 
Bait  Jabril,  in  many  places,  marble  is  found.  From  the  Ghaur 
districts  they  bring  sulphur,  and  other  such-like  minerals  ;  and 
from  the  Dead  Sea  they  get  salt  in  powder.  The  best  honey 
is  that  from  Jerusalem,  where  the  bee?  suck  the  thyme ;  and 
likewise  from  the  Jabal  'Amilah.  The  finest  quality  of  the  sauce 
called  Muri  is  that  which  is  made  at  Jericho."  (Muk.,  184.) 

The  Muri  sauce,  here  mentioned,  is  a  pickle  made  from  certain 
fish  or  meat  set  in  salt  water.  It  has  medicinal  properties,  duly 
noted  by  Galen,  Dioscorides,  and  others,  and  was  known  to  the 
Romans  under  the  name  of  Garum  or  Muria.  One  Al  Hafiz 
calls  it  "  the  pearl  of  condiments." 

"  The  water  in  Syria,"  says  Mukaddasi,  "  is  for  the  most  part 
excellent.  That  found  at  Baniyas,  however,  acts  aperiently ;  and 
the  water  of  Tyre  causes  constipation.  At  Baisan  the  water  is 
heavy  and  bad  ;  while  verily  we  take  refuge  in  Allah  from  that  of 
Sughar !  The  water  of  Bait  ar  Ram  is  execrable  ;  but  nowhere 
do  you  find  lighter  (better)  water  than  at  Jericho.  The  water  of 
Ar  Ramlah  is  easy  of  digestion  :  but  that  of  Nabulus  is  hard.  In 
Damascus  and  Jerusalem  the  water  is  not  so  hard,  for  the 
climate  of  these  towns  is  less  arid."  (Muk.,  '184.) 

Of  the  general  manners  and  customs  of  Syria  Mukaddasi  has 
the  following  : 

'•  In  the  Syrian  mosques  it  is  the  wont  to  keep  the  lamps  always 


lighted,  and  they  are  suspended  by  chains  even  as  at  Makkah.  In 
the  chief  town  of  every  province,  the  public  treasure  is  kept  in 
the  great  mosque,  it  being  placed  in  a  chamber  supported  upon 
pillars.  And  in  their  mosques,  except  only  in  the  one  at  Jericho,  it 
is  of  usage  to  have  doors  shutting  off  the  Main-building  from  the 
Court,  which  latter  is  flagged  with  stone.  The  court  of  the  great 
mosque  at  Tiberias  alone  in  all  this  province  is  paved  with 

"The  minarets  are  built  square,  and  they  set  a  pitched  roof  * 
(called Jamalan,  meaning  'camel-backed')  over  the  Main-building 
of  the  mosques ;  also,  at  all  the  mosque  gates,  and  in  the  market- 
places, are  cells  for  the  ablution. 

"  Of  Christian  feasts  that  are  observed  also  by  the  Muslims  of 
Syria,  for  the  division  of  the  seasons  of  the  year,  are  the  following : 
Easter,  at  the  new  year  (old  style,  the  vernal  equinox) ;  Whitsuntide, 
at  the  time  of  heat ;  Christmas,  at  the  time  of  cold  ;  the  Feast  of  St. 
Barbara  (4th  of  Kanun  I.,  December),  in  the  rainy  season — and 
the  people  have  a  proverb  which  says  :  '  When  St.  Barbara's  feast 
comes  round,  then  the  mason  may  take  to  his  flute/  meaning  that 
he  may  then  sit  quiet  at  home  ;  the  Feast  of  the  Kalends  (ist  of 
Kanun  II.,  January) — and,  again,  one  of  their  proverbs  is  :  *  When 
the  Kalends  come,  keep  warm  and  stay  at  home ' ;  the  Feast  of  the 
Cross  (i3th  or  i4th  of  Ilul,  September),  at  the  time  of  grape- 
gathering  ;  and  the  feast  of  Lydda  (or  the  Feast  of  St.  George, 
23rd  of  Nisan,  April),  at  the  time  of  sowing  the  seed. 

"The  months  in  use  in  Syria  are  the  solar  months  of  the 
Greeks  ;  namely,  Tishrin,  first  and  second  (October  and  Novem- 
ber) ;  Kanun,  first  and  second  (December  and  January) ;  Shibat 
(February);  Adhar  (March);  Nisan  (April);  Ayyar  (May); 
Hazairan  (June) ;  Tammuz  (July) ;  Ab  (August) ;  and  Ilul 
(September)."  (Muk.,  182.) 

Mukaddasi  continues  :  "It  is  seldom  recorded  that  any  juris- 
prudist  of  Syria  propounds  new  doctrines,  or  that  any  Muslim 
here  is  the  writer  of  aught ;  except  only  at  Tiberias,  where  the 
scribes  have  ever  been  in  repute.  And  verily  the  scribes  here  in 
Syria,  even  as  is  the  case  in  Egypt,  are  all  Christians,  for  the  Muslims 

*  See  Chapter  III.,  Mukaddasi's  description  of  the  Aksa  Mosque. 


abandon  to  them  entirely  this  business,  and,  unlike  the  men  of 
other  nations,  do  not  hold  letters  a  profitable  subject  of  study. 

"  In  this  province  of  Syria,  also,  for  the  most  part,  the  assayers 
of  coin,  the  dyers,  bankers,  and  tanners,  are  Jews,  while  it  is 
most  usual  for  the  physicians  and  the  scribes  to  be  Christians. 

"  The  Syrians  are  a  well-dressed  folk.  Both  learned  and  simple 
wear  the  long  cloak  called  Rida,  and  they  do  not  put  on  lighter 
garments  in  summer-time,  except  it  be  in  the  matter  of  the  single- 
soled  shoe. 

"  The  Syrians  wear  the  heavy  rain-cloaks,  of  wool,  called  Mini  tar, 
thrown  open  ;  and  their  '  Tailasans '  have  not  the  hollowed  form. 
In  Ar  Ramlah  the  chief  shopkeepers  are  wont  to  ride  Egyptian 
asses,  with  fine  saddles,  and  it  is  only  Amirs  and  chiefs  who  keep 
horses.  The  villagers  and  the  scribes  wear  the  woollen  vest  called 
Durra'ah.  The  clothing  of  the  peasantry  in  the  villages  round 
Jerusalem  and  Nabulus  consists  of  a  single  shirt,  called  the  A'z'sd, 
and  they  wear  no  drawers  beneath  it."  (Muk.,  182,  183.) 

The  Tailasan  here  alluded  to  was  the  distinctive  head-dress  of 
the  Kadis,  or  judges,  and  the  men  of  learning.  It  consisted  of  a 
veil  (also  called  Tarhah\  worn  above  the  ordinary  turban,  allowed 
to  fall  back  over  the  shoulders.  It  was  usually  made  of  white 
muslin  or  linen  stuff.  The  word  I  have  rendered  by  "hollowed," 
mukawwar,  may  also  signify  "starched,"  but  it  is  generally  taken 
to  denote  the  "nick,"  or  cavity,  left  at  the  top  of  the  head-dress. 
The  Durra'ah  (also  called  Midra'aK)  was  a  short  vest  generally 
worn  open  in  front,  but  having  buttons  to  fasten  it  if  desired.  It 
was  made  of  coloured  stuffs,  and  in  cloth  or  other  woollen  fabric. 

The  Kisa  is  the  long  shirt  or  smock,  reaching  from  the  neck 
almost  to  the  feet  •  it  was  of  either  white  or  coloured  stuff.  The 
dress  of  the  Fellahin  of  Palestine  is,  down  to  the  present  time, 
exactly  what  Mukaddasi  here  describes.  In  reading  the  mediaeval 
writers,  those  who  have  travelled  in  modern  Syria  will  be  con- 
stantly struck  by  the  fact  that  most  of  the  customs  noticed  by  these 
authors  are  still  kept  up  at  the  present  day.  The  following  descrip- 
tion of  the  bread-ovens,  in  particular,  applies  precisely  to  what  may 
now  be  seen  in  every  Druze  village  of  Mount  Carmel. 

"The  people  of  Syria,"  writes  Mukaddasi,  "have  ovens,  and 


the  villagers  especially  make  use  of  the  kind  called  Tabun.  These 
are  small,  and  used  for  baking  bread,  and  are  dug  in  the 
ground.  They  line  them  with  pebbles,  and  kindling  the  fire  of 
dried  dung  within  and  above,  they  afterwards  remove  the  hot 
aslu-s  and  place  the  loaves  of  bread  to  bake  upon  these  pebbles, 
when  they  have  become  thus  red-hot.  There  are  also  bakers  in 
Syria  of  the  lentil-bread,  and  of  the  dish  called  Baisar  (of  beans 
cooked  in  honey  and  milk).  In  this  province,  too,  they  boil  in 
olive-oil  beans  that  have  already  sprouted,  and  then  fry  them, 
which  is  a  dish  sold  for  eating  with  olives.  Also  they  salt  the 
lupin,  and  use  it  much  for  food.  From  the  carob-bean  they  make 
a  species  of  sweetmeat,  which  is  called  Kubbait ;  that  made  from 
the  sugar-cane  is  known  for  distinction  as  Natif  (that  is,  sweet 
meat).  During  the  winter-time  they  bake  the  sugared  butter- 
cakes  called  Zidlabiyyah;  these  are  of  pastry,  but  in  Syria  they 
are  not  made,  as  elsewhere,  with  cross-bars  on  the  top  and  con- 
fection of  fruit.  In  the  greater  number  of  the  above  customs  the 
Syrians  resemble  the  Egyptians,  but  in  some  few  they  have  the 
ways  of  the  inhabitants  of  'Irak  and  Akur  (that  is  Lower  and 
Upper  Mesopotamia)."  (Muk.,  183.) 

"  All  along  the  sea-coast  of  Filastin  are  the  Watch-stations,  called 
Ribat,  where  the  levies  assemble.  The  war- ships  and  the  galleys 
of  the  Greeks  also  come  into  these  ports,  bringing  aboard  of  them 
the  captives  taken  from  the  Muslims  ;  these  they  offer  for  ransom 
—three  for  the  hundred  Dinars.*  And  in  each  of  these  ports  there 
are  men  who  know  the  Greek  tongue,  for  they  have  missions  to 
the  Greeks,  and  trade  with  them  in  divers  wares.  At  the  Stations, 
whenever  a  Greek  vessel  appears,  they  sound  the  horns ;  also,  if 
it  be  night,  they  light  a  beacon  there  on  the  tower ;  or,  if  it  be 
day,  they  make  a  great  smoke.  From  every  Watch-station  on  the 
coast  up  to  the  capital  ( Ar  Ramlah)  there  are  built,  at  intervals,  high 
towers,  in  each  of  which  is  stationed  a  company  of  men.  On  the 
occasion  of  the  arrival  of  the  Greek  ships  the  men,  perceiving 
these,  kindle  the  beacon  on  the  tower  nearest  to  the  coast-station, 
and  then  on  that  lying  next  above  it,  and  onwards,  one  after 

*  That  is,  about  £16  for  each  captive,  equivalent,  however,  in  the  currency 
of  the  present  day,  to  nearly  £50  ;  see  p.  44. 


another,  so  that  hardly  is  an  hour  elapsed  before  the  trumpets 
are  sounding  in  the  capital,  and  drums  are  beating  in  the  towers, 
calling  the  people  down  to  the  Watch-station  by  the  sea.  And 
they  hurry  out  in  force,  with  their  arms,  and  the  young  men  of 
the  village  gather  together.  Then  the  ransoming  begins.  Some 
will  be  able  to  ransom  a  prisoner,  while  others  (less  rich) 
will  throw  down  silver  Dirhams,  or  signet-rings,  or  contribute  some 
other  valuable,  until  at  length  all  the  prisoners  who  are  in  the 
Greek  ships  have  been  ransomed.  Now  the  Watch-stations  of 
this  province  of  Filastin,  where  this  ransoming  of  captives  takes 
place,  are  these  :  Ghazzah,  Mimas,  'Askalan,  Mahuz-  (the  port  of) 
Azdud,  Mahuz-  (the  port  of)  Yubna,  Yafah,  and  Arsuf."  (Muk., 


When,  towards  the  close  of  the  first  half  of  the  seventh  century 
of  our  era,  the  great  wave  of  Arab  conquest  swept  over  Syria,  and 
wrested  that  province  from  the  Byzantine  dominion,  the  march 
of  the  invading  hordes  came  down  along  the  well-known  caravan 
route,  leading  from  Makkah  and  Al  Madinah  to  Damascus,  which 
lay  along  what  is  now  the  return  Pilgrim  Road  from  the  Hijjaz  to 
the  cities  of  Syria.  Hence  the  first  territories  that  came  under 
the  power  of  Islam  were  the  countries  east  of  the  Jordan  and  the 
Dead  Sea;  and  it  was  not  till  Damascus  and  its  territory  in  the 
north  had  been  taken,  that  Galilee,  the  lowlands  of  the  Jordan 
Province,  and  Palestine,  were  overrun  by  the  Muslims.  The 
subjugation  of  the  provinces  north  of  Damascus,  with  the  great 
cities  of  Antioch,  Aleppo,  and  Emessa,  followed  almost  imme- 
diately on  the  foregoing,  and  thus  completed  the  conquest  of  Syria. 

The  line  taken  by  the  Arabs  on  their  inroad  explains  the 
political  divisions  into  which  the  conquered  territories  came  to  be 
parcelled  out  when  the  second  Khalif,  the  great  administrator 
'Omar,  settled  the  government  of  the  Muslim  Empire.  Syria  was 
divided  into  provinces,  each  of  which  was  termed  a  Jund.  The 
word,  according  to  the  lexicons,  means,  primarily,  "  a  troop  of 
soldiers."  In  Syria  it  was  applied  to  the  "  military  districts  "  in 
which  a  special  body  of  troops  lay  in  garrison,  and  hence  in  parti- 
cular the  five  great  military  districts  into  which  Syria  was  divided. 


These  five  were  the  following :  The  Jund  of  Damascus,  and, 
northwards,  the  Jund  of  Hims  and  the  Jund  of  Kinnasrin.  West 
and  south-west  of  the  Damascus  Jund  was  the  Jordan  District, 
called  Jund  al  Urdunn,  comprising  Galilee,  and  the  Sea  of  Galilee, 
:?nd  the  lowlands  of  the  Jordan,  down  to  the  Dead  Sea.  West  of 
this  again  lay  Palestine  proper,  the  Jund  Filastin,  which  included 
all  the  countries  lying  to  the  south  of  the  great  plain  of  Acre 
and  Esdraelon — to  the  west  of  the  Jordan  cleft  and  the  Dead  Sea. 
This  Jund  had  the  sea  for  its  western  boundary,  and  the  Desert  of 
the  Wanderings  and  the  road  to  Egypt  closing  it  on  the  south. 

The  country  lying  north  of  the  Damascus  Province  had,  in  the 
first  years  of  the  Arab  conquest,  formed  but  a  single  Jund,  called, 
after  its  chief  town,  Jund  Hims  (Emessa).  When  Mu'awiyah 
(66 1 — 679),  the  first  Khalif  of  the  house  of  Omayyah,  had  suc- 
ceeded in  putting  down  his  rival  'Ali  (the  Prophet's  son-in-law), 
and  had  detached  the  people  of  Northern  Mesopotamia  from 
their  allegiance  to  the  latter,  he  erected  the  lands  where  they 
had  settled  into  a  separate  district,  calling  it  Jund  Kinnasrin. 
This  is  the  account  given  by  Dimashki,  a  somewhat  late  authority 
(1300).  The  early  historian  Biladhuri  (869)  states,  on  the  other 
hand,  that  it  was  the  Khalif  Yazid,  son  of  Mu'awiyah  above 
mentioned,  who  instituted  the  new  Jund  of  Kinnasrin  by  separat- 
ing these  territories  from  those  of  Hims.  (Bil.,  132  ;  copied  by 
Yak.,  iii.  742.)  The  new  province  was  called  the  Jund  of 
Kinnasrin,  after  its  chief  town  of  that  name,  the  ancient 
Chalcis.  It  comprised  the  districts  round  Aleppo,  Antioch,  and 

Syria,  thus  divided  into  five  Junds,  so  remained  during  all  the 
days  of  the  Damascene  Khalifate  of  the  Omayyads.  After  the 
fall  of  that  dynasty,  and  the  rise  of  the  Abbasides,  who  made 
Baghdad  their  capital,  on  the  Tigris,  the  northern  frontiers  of 
Syria  were  considerably  extended  by  the  conquests  of  the  Khalif 
Al  Mansur  and  his  successors ;  and  in  the  reign  of  Harun  ar 
Rashid,  about  the  year  170  (786),  it  was  found  necessary  to  sub- 
divide the  now  overgrown  Jund  of  Kinnasrin.  The  country,  there- 
fore, towards  the  Greek  frontier,  comprising  the  territories  from 
Antioch  westward  to  the  coast,  and  astward  to  Aleppo  and  Manbij, 


was  erected  into  a  new  Jund,  called  Jund  al  'Awasim,  the  latter 
word  being  the  plural  of 'Asim,  signifying  a  "stronghold."  North 
of  this  again,  and  on  the  actual  frontier,  was  the  district  called 
Ath  Thughur — that  of  the  "frontier  fortresses."  These  frontier 
fortresses  were  often  divided  into  the  Thughur  of  Syria,  to  the 
westward,  and  the  Thughur  of  Mesopotamia,  to  the  eastward. 
The  district  consisted  of  the  long  chain  of  fortresses  that  guarded 
the  northern  frontier  of  Syria,  built  there  for  keeping  out  the  in- 
cursions of  the  Greeks.  This  chain  of  fortresses  ran  from  Tarsus, 
Adana,  and  Mopsuestia,  on  the  west,  by  Malatiyah  and  Hisn 
Mansur,  to  the  line  of  the  upper  waters  of  the  Euphrates  at 
Samosata  and  Balis,  on  the  east.  (Cf.  Dim.,  192,  214.) 

To  return,  however,  to  the  early  division  of  Syria  into  five  Junds. 
These  corresponded  very  nearly  with  the  old  Roman  and  Byzantine 
provinces,  such  as  the  Arabs  found  in  existence  at  the  time  of  the 
conquest,  and  which  are  described  in  the  Code  of  Theodosius,  a 
work  that  dates  from  the  fifth  century  A.D. 

Palaestina  Prima,  with  Caesarea  for  its  capital,  comprising  Judaea 
and  Samaria,  became  the  Arab  Jund  of  Filastin,  with  Ramlah  for 

Palaestina  Secunda,  with  Scythopolis  (Beth  Shean,  Baisan)  for 
its  capital,  comprising  the  two  Galilees  and  the  western  part  of 
Peraea,  became  the  Jund  of  Al  Urdunn  (the  Jordan),  with  Tiberias 
for  the  new  capital. 

Palaestina  Tertia,  or  Salutaris,  including  Idumaea  and  Arabia 
Petraea,  was  absorbed  partly  into  the  Damascus  Jund,  and  partly 
was  counted  in  Filastin. 

Phoenicia  Prima,  with  Tyre  for  its  capital,  and  Phoenicia 
Secunda,  or  Ad  Libanum,  became,  in  the  new  arrangement 
(together  with  many  of  the  outlying  lands  east  of  the  Jordan)  the 
great  Jund  of  Damascus. 

Syria  Secunda,  north  of  this,  with  Apameia  for  its  capital,  was 
divided  by  the  Arabs  between  the  Junds  of  Hamah  and  Hims. 
Lastly,  Syria  Prima,  with  Antioch  for  its  capital,  became  the 
Jund  of  Halab,  or  Kinnasrin ;  or,  more  exactly,  that  portion  of  it 
which  was  ultimately  made  into  a  separate  district,  under  the 
name  of  the  Jund  of  the  'Awasim. 


The  Junds,  and  the  two  Northern  Provinces,  are  described  by 
the  Arab  geographers  in  the  following  terms  : 

"  The  provinces  of  Syria,"  write  Istakhri  and  Ibn  Haukal  in  the 
tenth  century,  "  are  Jund  Filastin,  and  Jund  al  Urdunn,  Jund 
Dimashk,  Jund  Hims,  and  Jund  Kinnasrin.  Then  the  'Awashn 
and  the  Thughur. 

"  The  frontiers  of  Syria  are  the  following :  On  the  west,  the 
Bahr  Rum  (the  Greek  or  Mediterranean  Sea);  on  the  east,  the 
desert  from  Ailah  to  the  Euphrates  ;  and  along  this  river  to  the 
frontiers  of  Rum  (the  Greek  country).  The  northern  frontier  is 
the  country  of  Rum,  while  the  southern  is  the  frontier  of  Egypt, 
and  the  Tih  (the  Desert  of  the  Wanderings)  of  the  Bani  Israil. 

"The  furthest  point  south  of  Syria  towards  Egypt  is  Rafh. 
North,  towards  the  country  of  Rum,  the  furthest  limits  are  the 
Fortresses  (Thughur),  which  of  old  times  were  called  the  Meso- 
potamian  Fortresses.  These  are  Malatyah  (Malatia,  Mitelene), 
Al  Hadath,  Mar'ash,  Al  Haruniyyah,  Al  Kanisah,  'Ain  Zarbah, 
Al  Massisah,  Adhanah,  and  Tarsus.  We  reckon  all  these  Fortresses 
as  belonging  to  Syria,  speaking  generally ;  but  although  some  have 
always  been  known  as  the  Fortresses  of  Syria,  others  are  often 
called  the  Fortresses  of  Mesopotamia.  In  truth,  however,  they 
are  all  Syrian;  for  whatever  lies  on  this  side  (or  west  of)  the 
Euphrates  belongs  to  Syria.  However,  it  is  to  be  noted  that 
those  named  first,  from  Malatyah  to  Mar'ash,  are  generally  called 
the  Mesopotamian  Fortresses,  because  they  are  always  garrisoned 
by  the  people  of  Mesopotamia,  who  make  military  incursions 
thence  into  the  country  of  the  Greeks ;  and  they  are  not  so  called 
because  they  really  belong  to  the  province  of  Mesopotamia." 
(Is.,  55;  I.  H,  108.) 

Writing  in  the  fourteenth  century,  after  the  overthrow  of  the 
Frank  dominion,  Abu-1  Fida  remarks  : 

"  The  limits  of  Syria  in  our  days  include  the  kingdom  of 
Little  Armenia,  which  is  called  the  Bilad  Sis.  The  northern 
frontier,  therefore,  goes  from  Balis  beside  the  Euphrates,  through 
Kala'at  Najm,  Al  Birah,  Kala'at  ar  Rum,  Sumaisat,  Hisn  Mansur, 
Bahasna,  Mar'ash,  and  thence  by  the  Bilad  Sis  to  Tarsus  and  the 
Mediterranean  Sea."  (A.  F.,  226.) 


i.  JUND  FILASTIN  (Palestine)  and  its  sub-districts.  Subordinate 
to  this  district  were  those  of  the  Tin  (the  Desert  of  the  Wander- 
ings of  the  Children  of  Israel),  and  of  Al  Jifar,  both  lying  towards 
the  Egyptian  Frontier.  Of  the  Jund  Filastin,  the  ancient  capital 
(says  Ya'kubi)  was  Ludd  (Lydda).  The  Khalif  Sulaiman  sub- 
sequently founded  the  city  of  Ar  Ramlah,  which  he  made  the 
capital,  and  Lydda  fell  to  decay,  for  its  population  all  removed  to 
Ar  Ramlah,  the  new  capital.*  The  same  author,  who  wrote  in  the 
ninth  century  of  our  era,  continues  :  "  The  population  of  Palestine 
consists  of  Arabs  of  the  tribes  of  Lakhm,  Judham,  'Amilah, 
Kindah,  Kais  and  Kinanah."  (Yb.,  116,  117.) 

"  Filastin,"  write  Istakhri  and  Ibn  Haukal,  "  is  the  westernmost 
of  the  provinces  of  Syria.  In  its  greatest  length  from  Rafh  to  the 
boundary  of  Al  Lajjun  (Legio),  it  would  take  a  rider  two  days 
to  travel  over;  and  the  like  time  to  cross  the  province  in  its 
breadth  from  Yafa  (Jaffa)  to  Riha  (Jericho).  Zughar  (Segor,  Zoar) 
and  the  country  of  Lot's  people  (Diyar  Kaum  Luf] ;  Al  Jibal  (the 
mountains  of  Edom),  and  Ash  Sharah  as  far  as  Ailah — Al  Jibal 
and  Ash  Sharah  being  two  separate  provinces,  but  lying  contiguous 
one  to  the  other — are  included  in  Filastin,  and  belong  to  its  govern- 

"  Filastin  is  watered  by  the  rains  and  the  dew.  Its  trees  and 
its  ploughed  lands  do  not  need  artificial  irrigation  ;  and  it  is  only 
in  Nabulus  that  you  find  the  running  waters  applied  to  this  pur- 
pose. Filastin  is  the  most  fertile  of  the  Syrian  provinces.  Its 
capital  and  largest  town  is  Ar  Ramlah,  but  the  Holy  City  (of 
Jerusalem)  comes  very  near  this  last  in  size.  In  the  province  of 
Filastin,  despite  its  small  extent,  there  are  about  twenty  mosques, 
with  pulpits  for  the  Friday  prayer."  (Is.,  56,  57;  I.H.,  111-113; 
copied  by  Id.,  3,  4,  and  A.F.,  226.) 

Among  the  towns  of  Filastin  mentioned  as  conquered  by  the 
Arab  General  'Amr  ibn  al  'As,  at  the  invasion,  are  Ghazzah  (Gaza), 
Sabastiyah  (Samaria),  Nabulus  (Shechem),  Kaisariyyah  (Caesarea), 
Ludd  (Lydda),  Yubna,  'Amwas  (Emmaus),  Yafa  (Joppa),  Rafh,  and 
Bait  Jibrin.  At  this  last  he  enclosed  a  domain  to  which  he  gave 
the  name  of  'Ajlun,  after  one  of  his  freedmen.  (Bil.  138.) 
*  See  Chapter  VIII.,  "  Ar  Ramlah." 


"  Filastin,"  writes  Yakut,  in  the  thirteenth  century,  "  is  the  last 
of  the  provinces  of  Syria  towards  Egypt.  Its  capital  is  Jerusalem. 
Of  the  principal  towns  are  'Askalan,  Ar  Ramlah,  Ghazzah,  Arsuf, 
Kaisariyyah,  Nabulus,  Ariha  (Jericho),  'Amman,  Yafah,  and  Bait 
Jibrin.  Most  part  of  Filastin  is  mountainous,  and  but  little  plain 
country  is  met  with.  This  Province  is  referred  to  in  the  Kuran 
(XXI.  71)  in  the  words,  'And  we  brought  Abraham  and  Lot  in 
safety  to  the  land  which  we  have  blessed  for  all  human  beings.' 
The  name  is  from  Filastin,  son  of  Sam,  son  of  Aram,  son  of  Sam 
(Shem)  son  of  Nun  (Noah),  but  there  are  also  other  genealogies." 
(Yak.  iii.,  913;  Mar.  ii.,  362.) 

The  District  of  the  Tih  belongs  to  Filastin.  Of  this  Istakhri 
writes : 

"  At  Tih,  the  Desert  of  the  Children  of  Israel  is  said  to  be  forty 
leagues  long  and  nearly  as  much  across.  It  is  a  country  full  of 
sand.  Part  of  it  is  sterile,  though  here  and  there  are  palm- 
trees  growing,  and  water  in  springs.  Its  limits  are  the  Jifar  dis- 
trict on  the  one  side,  and  Mount  Sinai  and  its  district  on  the 
other.  To  the  north  of  the  Tih  lie  the  outer  limits  of  the  Holy 
City  and  other  parts  of  Palestine ;  and  its  southern  frontier  is  in 
the  desert  beyond  the  Rif  district  of  Egypt,  lying  towards  the 
Red  Sea."  (Is.  53;  I.H.  104.) 

"The  Tih,  or  Desert  of  the  Children  of  Israel,"  says  Mukad- 
dasi,  "  is  a  place  on  the  situation  of  which  there  is  some  discussion. 
The  most  reliable  account  is  that  it  is  the  desert  country,  lying 
between  Syria  and  Egypt,  which  same  is  forty  leagues  across  in 
every  direction  ;  everywhere  are  sand  tracts,  salt  marshes,  and  red 
sandstone  hills,  while  occasionally  palm-trees  and  springs  of  water 
may  be  met  with.  The  limits  of  this  district  are,  on  the  one 
hand,  the  district  of  Al  Jifar,  and  on  the  other  Mount  Sinai ;  to 
the  west  the  desert  limit  is  conterminous  with  the  Egyptian  pro- 
vince of  Ar  Rif;  and  on  the  other  side  the  Tih  goes  up  to  Syria. 
Through  it  lies  the  pilgrim  road  to  Makkah."  (Muk.  179  ) 

"  At  Tih,"  according  to  Idrisi,  "  is  the  land  lying  between  the 
Red  Sea  and  the  Syrian  Sea.  It  extends  for  a  space  of  some  seven 
marches,  and  is  called  Fahs  at  Tih  (The  Region  of  the  Wander- 
ings), for  it  was  here  that  the  children  of  Israel  wandered  in  the 


time  of  Moses — peace  be  upon  him  !  They  wandered  here  during 
forty  years  without  entering  any  city,  or  sojourning  in  any  house, 
and  no  man  had  change  of  raiment,  neither  did  any  experience 
growth  in  stature.  The  length  of  this  region  of  the  Tih  is  about 
six  days' journey."  (Id.  i  and  21.)  Yakut  epitomises  the  above, 
and  adds  nothing  new.  (Yak.  i.,  912  ;  Mar.  i.,  123.) 

"Of  the  desert  districts  of  the  Tih  of  the  children  of  Israel," 
writes  Dimashki,  "  are  the  Israelitish  towns,  namely,  Kadas  (Kadesh 
Barnea),  Huwairak,  Al  Khalasah  (Elusa),  Al  Khalus  (Lyssa),  As 
Saba'  (Beersheba),  and  Al  Madurah — all  these  belonging  to  the 
Tih."  (Dim.  213.) 

The  District  of  Al  Jifar,  often  counted  as  belonging  to  Filastin, 
is  thus  described  by  Istakhri : 

"The  district  called  Al  Jifar  (the  Wells  or  Waterpits)  is  the 
tract  of  country  extending  from  the  borders  of  the  Lake  of  Tinnis 
(in  Egypt)  to  the  frontiers  of  Filastin.  It  is  a  country  of  continuous 
fine  and  coloured  sand,  dotted  about  with  palm-trees  and  habita- 
tions, with  water  here  and  there.  The  frontiers  of  the  Jifar  are 
the  Mediterranean,  the  Desert  of  the  Tih,  Palestine,  and  the  Sea 
of  Tinnis,  with  the  adjoining  lands  going  from  Rif  of  Egypt  to  the 
border  of  Kulzum  (the  Red  Sea).  There  are  found  in  this  dis- 
trict serpents  a  span  long,  who  spring  up  from  the  sand  into  the 
camel-litters  and  bite  the  riders.  The  Egyptians  say  in  their 
histories  that  in  the  days  of  Pharaoh  the  Jifar  was  built  over 
everywhere  with  towns."  (Is.,  52  ;  I.  H.,  103  ;  copied  by  Yak. 
ii.,  90  ;  Mar.  i.,  258.) 

2.  JUND  AL  URDUNN  (the  Jordan  Province).  Subordinate  to 
this  is  the  District  of  the  Ghaur,  or  cleft  of  the  Jordan  River,  and 
the  country  of  the  Dead  Sea.  Of  the  Jordan  Province  the  capital 
is  Tabariyyah,  Tiberias.  Ibn  al  Fakih  writes  : 

"Of  its  districts  (Kurah)  are  Tabariyyah,  As  Samirah  (Samaria), 
which  is  Nabulus,  Baisan,  Fahl  (Pella)  Jarash,  'Akka  (Acre),  Al 
Kadas  (Kadesh  Naphthali),  and  Sur  (Tyre)."  (I.  F.,  116;  copied 
by  Id.,  21  ;  and  others.) 

The  Ghaur  (the  cleft  of  the  Lower  Jordan).  According  to 
Ya'kubi  this  is  :  "  An  outlying  district  of  the  Damascus  Province. 
Its  capital  is  Riha  (Jericho)."  (Yb.,  113.; 


"The  Ghaur,"  says  Istakhri-Ibn-Haukal,  "is  the -country  of 
Lot's  people,  and  of  the  Stinking  Lake  (Dead  Sea).  All  the  rest 
of  Filastin  is  higher  than  this  part,  and  its  waters  flow  down  into 
it.  The  Ghaur  begins  at  the  Lake  of  Tiberias,  and  going  by 
Baisan  extends  past  Zughar  and  Riha  down  to  the  Dead  Sea. 
The  word  Ghaur  means  'a  cleft  between  mountains,'  cutting 
down  into  the  earth.  There  are  all  along  its  course  palm-trees, 
meadows,  springs  and  streams.  No  snow  that  falls  ever  lies  here. 
The  Ghaur,  as  far  south  as  Baisan,  belongs  to  the  Urdunn 
province,  but  below  this  it  belongs  to  Filastin.  This  same  deep 
valley  extends  still  further  south,  and  at  length  reaches  Ailah." 
(Is.,  56,  58  ;  I.  H.,  in,  113;  copied  by  A.  F.,  226.) 
Idrisi  writes : 

"  Al  Ghaur  includes  the  Diyar  Kaum  Lut  (the  country  of  Lot's 
people)  and  the  Stinking  Sea,  being  all  the  land  from  Zughar  up 
to  Baisan  and  Tabariyyah.  The  Ghaur  (cleft)  is  so  called  because 
it  is  a  valley  between  two  ranges  of  hills.  All  the  waters  of  Syria 
descend  into  it,  and  are  collected  there,  forming  one  mighty  stream 
(the  Jordan),  whose  origin  is  in  the  Lake  of  Tiberias,  near  the 
city  of  Tabariyyah. 

"The  other  rivers  of  Syria  flow  into  the  Jordan,  such  as  the 
Nahr  al  Yarmuk  (Hieromax),  the  streams  of  Baisan,  and  those 
which  flow  from  the  district  of  Maab,  and  the  mountains  of  the 
Holy  City,  and  the  mountains  of  Abraham's  Sepulchre  (Hebron) 
— peace  be  on  him — as  also  what  waters  come  down  from  Nabulus. 
All  these  are  collected  together  into  the  Ghaur,  and  flow  thence 
into  the  Lake  of  Zughar,  the  Dead  Sea. 

"  Ariha  (Jericho),  with  'Amta  and  Baisan  are  the  finest  of  the 
cities  of  the  valley  of  the  Ghaur.  The  principal  crop  of  the 
Ghaur  is  indigo.  Its  inhabitants  are  brown-skinned,  and  some  of 
them  even  are  almost  black."  (Id.,  3.) 

"  There  are  many  Ghaurs,"  says  Yakut,  "  for  Ghaur  means 
1  crevasse.'  The  Ghaur  of  the  Jordan  lies  between  Jerusalem  and 
1  )amascus.  It  is  three  days'  journey  in  length,  and  less  than  half 
a  day  across.  In  it  runs  the  Jordan.  The  Lake  of  Tabariyyah 
lies  at  its  upper  end,  the  Dead  Sea  at  its  lower.  Its  principal 
town  is  Baisan,  which  is  on  its  edge.  It  is  a  low-lying  and  very 


hot  country.  What  they  grow  most  here  is  sugar-cane.*  Of  its 
towns  is  Ariha  (Jericho),  the  city  of  the  giants.  At  the  western 
(or  southern)  end  of  the  Ghaur,  is  the  Stinking  Sea,  and  at  its 
eastern  (or  northern)  end  is  the  Sea  of  Tiberias."  (Yak.,  iii., 
823  ;  Mar.  ii.,  322.) 

"  To  the  Jordan  province,"  says  Yakut,  "  belong  the  Kurahs  of 
Tabariyyah,  Baisan,  Bait  Ras,  Jadar,  Saffuriyyah  (Sepphoris),  Sur 
(Tyre),  'Akkah,  and  others.  Baisan,  Afik,  Jarash,  Bait  Ras,  Al 
Jaulan,  'Akkah,  Sur,  and  Saffuriyyah,  were  all  taken  during  the 
first  conquest  of  the  Arab  armies."  (Yak.,  i.,  201.) 

3.  JUND  DIMASHK.  Subordinate  to  the  Damascus  Province 
were  the  districts  of  the  great  plain  of  the  Ghutah  (or  Ghautah) 
round  the  city,  and  most  of  the  districts  to  the  south,  which  lay 
east  of  the  Jordan  Cleft  and  the  Dead  Sea. 

"Of  the  Damascus  Province,"  writes  Ya'kubi,  "are  (the  eastern 
lands  of)  the  Ghaur,  the  Hauran,  and  the  Bathaniyyah.  The 
outlying  districts  are  the  Balka,  (the  southern  portion  of)  the 
Ghaur,  and  Al  Jibal."  (Yb  ,113.) 

Ibn  al  Fakih  states  that : 

'Of  the  Kurahs  of  the  Damascus  Province  are  Iklirn  Sanir, 
Kurah  Jubail,  the  districts  of  Bairut,  Saida,  Bathaniyyah,  Hauran, 
Jaulan ;  also  the  outlying  parts  of  the  Balka,  and  the  various  dis- 
tricts of  the  Ghaur.  Further,  Kurah  Maab,  and  Jibal  ash  Sharah, 
Busra,  'Amman,  Al  Jabiyah,  and  Al  Kariyatain.  Also  the  dis- 
tricts of  Al  Hulah  and  Al  Bika'.  The  coast  towns  of  Damascus 
are  Saida  (Sidon),  Bairut,  Atrabulus  (Tripoli),  'Arkah,  and  Sur 
(Tyre).  Of  the  last,  Tyre,  the  mosque  belongs  to  Damascus,  but 
the  Kharaj  (or  land  tax)  to  the  Jordan  province."  (I.  F.,  105, 
writing  in  the  year  903.) 

"  Eastwards  of  the  Urdunn  Province  (says  Idrisi)  lies  the 
Damascus  province.  Of  its  Kurahs  are,  the  Plain  of  the  Ghautah 
round  Damascus,  the  land  of  Ba'albakk,  Al  Bika'  (Ccelo  Syria), 
Iklim  Lubnan  (the  Lebanon),  Kurah  Juniyyah,  and  the  Hulah, 
the  districts  of  Atrabulus,  Jubail,  Bairut,  Saida ;  the  Bathaniyyah 
district,  the  Hauran,  the  Jaulan,  the  outlying  country  of  Al 
Balka,  Kurah  Jibrin  of  the  Ghaur,  the  districts  of  Maab, 
*  This  was  in  the  thirteenth  century. 


'Amman,  and  Ash  Sharah,  with  the  land  round  Busra  and  Al 

"  Eastward  of  the  Damascus  Province  lies  the  (Syrian)  desert, 
and  south  of  it  is  the  Ard  as  Samawah  (the  Great  Desert  of 
Arabia),  and  the  Ard  'Ad  (the  country  of  the  ancient  'Adites).  To 
the  north  lie  the  'Awasim  and  Kinnasrin  Provinces."  (Id,  21; 
repeated  from  I.  Kh.,  72.) 

Al  Ghutah  (or  Al  Ghautah),  "  the  Garden  I,and,"  is  the  district 
immediately  surrounding  the  city  of  Damascus.  In  Ya'kubi's  time, 
at  the  close  of  the  ninth  century,  it  was  still  peopled  by  various 
tribes  of  the  ancient  Ghassanide  race,  whose  kings  had  ruled  in 
these  countries  before  the  Arab  conquest.  (Yb.,  113.) 

"  The  Ghutah,"  says  Mukaddasi,  "  is  a  day's  journey  (or  about 
thirty  miles  across  each  way),  and  beautiful  beyond  all  description." 
(Muk.,  1 60.) 

"  The  Plain  of  the  Ghutah,"  according  to  Yakut,  writing  in  the 
thirteenth  century,  "is  eighteen  miles  round,  and  is  surrounded 
on  all  sides  by  high  mountains,  more  especially  to  the  north.  It 
is  watered  by  many  rivers  which  irrigate  its  fields  and  gardens. 
The  overflow  of  these  goes  into  a  lake  (to  the  east  of  Damascus) 
and  into  the  swamps.  Water  is  found  everywhere,  and  no  place 
is  pleasanter.  It  is  one  of  the  four  paradises  of  the  earth.'' 
(Yak.,  iii.  825  ;  Mar.,  ii.  324.) 

Hauran  (Auranitis)  and  Al  Bathaniyyah  (Bathanea).  Ya'kubi, 
in  891,  states : 

"The  Hauran  district  has  for  its  capital  Busra."     (Yb.,  113.) 

Istakhri  and  Ibn  Haukal  in  the  tenth  century  write  : 

"  The  Hauran  and  Al  Bathaniyyah  are  two  great  districts  of  the 
Damascus  Province.  Their  fields  are  rain-watered.  The  frontiers 
of  these  two  districts  extend  down  to  Nimrin,  which  is  on  the 
Balka  district,  .and  'Amman.  Of  this  we  have  it  noted  in  the 
books  of  history  that  Nimra  is  of  the  best  of  the  waters  of  the  Tank 
called  the  Haud,  which  last  lay  between  Busra  and  Amman." 
(Is,  65;  I.H.,  124.) 

There  is  here  doubtless  an  allusion — derived  possibly  from  a 
Jewish  source — to  the  "  waters  of  Nimrim  "  of  Isaiah  xv.  6,  and  to 
the  "  Nimrah  "  of  Numbers  xxxii.  3.  The  Hand,  or  "  Tank,"  is  that 



mentioned  in  a  Tradition  of  the  Prophet  as  having  existed  of  old 
in  these  parts.  Its  waters,  it  is  said,  were  whiter  than  milk  and 
sweeter  than  honey.  The  name  Nimrin,  it  should  be  noted,  is  of 
frequent  occurrence  in  the  Trans-Jordan  district. 

The  Hauran  is  mentioned  by  Yakut  (thirteenth  century)  as  a 
large  district  full  of  villages  and  very  fertile,  lying  south  of 
Damascus.  (Yak.,  ii.  358  ;  Mar.,  i.  328.) 

From  the  Hauran  and  Bathaniyyah  into  Damascus  is  two  days' 
march.  (Is.,  I.H.,  Yak.,  Muk.) 

"Of  Al  Bathaniyyah,  the  capital  is  Adra'ah."     (Yb.,  113.) 

"Al  Bathaniyyah,"  says  Yakut,  "or  Al  Bathanah,  is  a  district 
near  Damascus.  Al  Bathanah  is  said  to  be  a  village  lying  be- 
tween Damascus  and  Adra'ah,  from  which  Job  came."  (Yak.,  i. 
493  ;  Mar.,  i.  126). 

Al  Jaulan  (Gaulonitis).     Ya'kubi,  in  891,  writes  : 

"Of  Al  Jaulan,  the  capital  is  Baniyas."     (Yb.,  114.) 

"  The  Jaulan  district,"  writes  Mukaddasi,  "  supplies  Damascus 
with  the  most  part  of  its  provisions."  (Muk.,  160.) 

"  Al  Jaulan,"  says  Yakut,  "  is  a  district  in  the  Hauran,  and  of 
the  Damascus  Province.  Al  Jaulan  is  also  said  to  be  the  name  of 
a  mountain  called  more  exactly  Harith  al  Jaulan  ;  others  say 
Harith  is  the  name  for  the  summit  of  the  mountain  only."  (Yak., 
ii.  159;  Mar.,  i.  273.) 

Al  Jaidfir  (Itursea).  Yakut,  in  the  thirteenth  century, 
states : 

"  Al  Jaidtir  is  a  district  belonging  to  the  Damascus  Province, 
and  lying  to  the  north  of  the  Hauran.  It  is  said  the  Jaidur  and 
the  Jaulan  form  but  one  Kurah  (or  district)."  (Yak.,  ii.  173  : 
Mar.,  i.  277.) 

Al  Hulah.     Mukaddasi  writes  : 

"  The  province  of  the  Hulah  (round  the  waters  of  Meron)  pro- 
duces much  cotton  and  rice  ;  it  is  low-lying,  and  has  numerous 
streams. -;  (Muk.,  160.) 

"Al  Hulah,"  says  Yakut,  "is  a  district  lying  between  Baniyas 
and  Sur  (Tyre),  but  belonging  to  Damascus.  It  has  many 
villages."  (Yak.,  ii.  366  ;  Mar.,  i.  330.) 

Al  Balka  (Penea).     According  to  Ya'kitbi : 


"  Al  Balka  is  one  of  the  outlying  districts  of  the  Damascus 
Province.  Its  capital  is  'Amman."  (Yb.,  113.) 

It  is  mentioned  by  Yakut  as  possessing  many  villages,  and  is 
noted  for  its  wheat-crops.  (Yak.,  i.  728;  Mar.,  i.  171.)  From 
the  Balka  into  Jerusalem  is  two  days'  march.  (Is.,  I.H.,  Id.) 

Ash  Sharah.     Ya'kubi  says  : 

"  Of  the  district  of  Ash  Sharah  (the  mountains  of  Moab)  the 
capital  is  Adhruh."  (Yb.,  114.) 

"  This  district,"  says  Istakhri  in  the  tenth  century,  "  is  extremely 
fertile  and  rich,  only  the  Bedawin  Arabs  have  the  upper  hand 
here,  and  so  ruin  all."  (Is.,  57  ;  I.H.,  113.) 

"  Ash  Sharah,"  writes  Idrisi,  "  is  a  fine  province,  whose  capital 
is  Adhruh.  Both  the  Sharah  and  Jibal  districts  are  extremely 
fertile,  producing  quantities  of  olive-trees,  and  almonds,  figs, 
grapes,  and  pomegranates.  The  inhabitants  are  mostly  of  the 
Kaisite  tribes."  (Id.,  5.) 

Ash  Sharah,  according  to  Y'akut,  is  the  mountainous  country 
through  which  the  Hajj  road  from  Damascus  passes.  (Yak.,  iii. 
270  ;  Mar.,  ii.  100.) 

From  Jabal  ash  Sharah  to  Zughar  is  one  day's  march.  (Is., 
l.H.)  Down  to  the  limit  of  Ash  Sharah  is  also  one  day's  march 
(Is.,  I.H.),  while  to  Zughar,  and  thence  to  the  further  limit  of  the 
Jabal  ash  Sharah,  is  two  days'  march,  according  to  Idrisi. 

It  will  be  noted  that  the  district  of  Ash  Sharah  is  sometimes 
also  counted  as  forming  part  of  the  Filastin  Province.  (See  above, 
p.  28.) 

Al  Jibal  (Gebalene).     According  to  Ya'kubi : — 

"Al  Jibal  is  one  of  the  outlying  districts  of  the  Damascus 
Province.  Its  capital  is 'Arandal."  (Yb.,  114.) 

"Jibal,"  says  Idrisi,  "  is  a  fine  province,  the  capital  of  which  is 
called  Darab."  (Id.,  5.) 

The  reading  of  this  last  name  is  uncertain;  in  the  MSS.  of 
Istakhri  and  Ibn  Haukal  the  name  is  variously  given  as  Ruwat, 
Ruwath,  and  Ruwad.  (Is.,  57  ;  I.H.,  113.) 

4.  JUND  HIMS  (the  Emessa  Province).     Mukaddasi  writes  : 

"Its  capital  bears  the  same  name.  Among  its  cities  are 
Salamiyyah,  Tadmur  (Palmyra),  Al  Khunasirah,  Kafar  Tab,  Al 



Ladhikiyyah  (I^aodicea),  Jabalah  (Byblos),  Antarsus  (Tortosa), 
Bulunyas  and  Hisn  al  Khawabi."  (Muk.,  154.  Given  in  much 
the  same  words  by  I.H  ,  ITO.) 

The  Hims  Jund,  as  before  noted  (p.  25),  originally  comprised 
all  the  country  to  the  north  of  Damascus,  which  afterwards  was 
subdivided  among  the  Junds  of  Kinnasrin  and  'Awasim,  and  the 
Thughur,  or  Frontier  Fortresses. 

The  southern  boundary  line  of  the  Hims  Province,  according 
to  Yakut,  lay  immediately  to  the  south  of  Karah,  while  its  northern 
limit  lay  beyond  the  village  of  Al  Karashiyyah.  Eastward  the 
Hims  Province  included  the  village  Al  Kariyatain  and  Palmyra 
(see  Part  II.,  under  these  names). 

5.  JUND    KINNASRIN.     The    Kinnasrin   Jund,  after   Harun  ar 
Rashid's  time,  when  the  'Awasim  had  been  formed  into  a  separate 
province,  was  circumscribed  to  the  country  round  Kinnasrin  and 
Aleppo,  with  the  two  Ma'arrahs,  and  the  Sarmin  territory. 

6.  JUND  AL  ' AWASIM  (or  of  the  Strongholds).     Ibn  al  Fakih 
writes  : 

"  In  the  days  of  the  Khalifs  'Omar  and  'Othman  the  Muslim 
frontier  fortresses  lay  round  Antakiyyah  (Antioch),  and  the 
districts  which  later  Ar  Rashid  formed  into  the  Jund  of  the 
'Awasim.  These  are  Kurah  Kurus,  Al  Jumah,  Manbij,  Antakiyyah 
Tuzin,  Balis,  and  Rusafah-Hisham.  What  lands  lay  beyond,  the 
Muslims  made  their  raids  into,  and  these  the  Greeks  raided  like- 
wise. Between  Al  Iskandariyyah  and  Tarsus  were  fortresses  and 
magazines  belonging  to  the  Greeks."  (I.  F.,  in.) 

"  The  Khalif  ar  Rashid  made  Manbij  the  capital  of  the  'Awasim 
Jund ;  which  further  comprised  the  districts  of  Manbij,  Duluk, 
Ra'ban,  Kurus,  Antakiyyah  and  Tizin  (or  Tuzin),  with  the  inter- 
vening places."  (Bil.,  132;  Yak.,  iii.  742.) 

Abu-1  Fida  (1321),  a  late  authority,  mentions  Antakiyyah  as  the 
capital  of  the  'Awasim,  and  says  the  province  originally  included 
the  districts  of  Shaizar,  Afamiyyah  and  adjacent  territories  ;  also 
the  Lebanon  region  as  far  as  the  region  of  Al  Kastal,  lying  between 
Hims  and  Damascus.  (A.  F.,  233.) 

Yakut,  writing  a  century  earlier,  after  quoting  Biladhuri  (as 
above),  adds,  the  'Awasim  were  all  the  Strongholds  lying  between 


lialab  and  Antakiyyah.  Some  counted  Aleppo  as  included  among 
thoc,  while  others  gave  it  the  Kinnasrin  Jund.  The  '  Awasim 
territory  is  for  the  most  part  mountainous,  and  both  Al  Massissah 
and  Tarsus  have  often  been  included  in  this  province.  Manbij 
was  its  early  capital,  and  afterwards  Antakiyyah.  (Yak.,  iii.  742  ; 
Mar.,  ii.  287.) 

7.  ATH  THUGH£R  (or  the  Frontier  Fortresses). 

"  These,"  writes  Yakut,  "  lie  along  the  northern  frontier  between 
Syria  and  the  Greek  country.  It  was  here  the  Muslims  lived  in 
garrison,  who  volunteered  for  the  guarding  of  the  frontiers  ;  as 
likewise  some  lay  encamped  on  the  coast  to  protect  the  land  from 
the  incursions  of  the  Greeks  in  their  ships.  Such  '  fortresses '  are 
Tarsus,  Adhanah  (Adana),  and  Al  Massissah  (Mopsuestia),  also 
those  in  the  Halab  and  the  'Awasim  territories.  This  district  of  the 
Thughur  has  no  capital,  all  the  towns  are  of  about  equal  size,  and 
each  is  the  chief  town  of  its  own  district.  Of  the  Thughur  are 
the  following :  Bayyas,  whence  to  Al  Iskandariyyah  is  one  march ; 
and  from  Bayyas  to  Al  Massissah  is  two  marches.  'Ain  Zarbah 
and  Adhanah  both  lie  one  march  from  Al  Massissah.  From 
Adhanah  to  Tarsus  is  one  day ;  Tarsus  to  Al  Jauzat  is  two  days  ; 
Tarsus  to  Aulas  on  the  sea  is  two  days ;  Bayyas  to  Al  Kanisah  as 
Sauda  is  less  than  one  day ;  and  Bayyas  to  Al  Haruniyyah  is  the 
same  ;  Al  Haruniyyah  to  Mar'ash,  a  fortress  of  the  Mesopotamian 
district,  is  less  than  a  day.  Antakiyyah  and  Baghras  are  celebrated 
towns  of  the  Thughur.  In  the  days  of  the  Khalif  'Omar,  and  for 
some  time  afterwards,  the  frontier  fortresses  lay  north  of  Antioch 
and  its  towns,  and  this  district  came  afterwards  to  be  called  the 
'Awasim.  Between  Iskandariyyah  and  Tarsus  were  many  fortresses 
belonging  to  the  Greeks,  similar  to  those  which  at  the  present  day 
belong  to  the  Muslims.  The  Muslims  in  those  early  days  blocked 
the  Darb  (Pass  of)  Baghras.  This  was  first  accomplished  by 
Maisarah  ibn  Masruk,  of  the  family  of  'Abbas,  who  was  despatched 
by  Abu  'Ubaidah  (in  the  days  of  the  early  conquest),  as  some  say  ; 
others  say  this  blocking  of  the  pass  was  done  by  'Umair  ibn  Sa'ad 
al  'Ansari  ;  others,  that  it  was  only  completed  when  the  Khalif 
Mu'awiyah  raided  against  'Ammuriyyah  (Armoricum)  in  the  year 
25  (646). 


"  The  Khalif  Mu'awiyah  raided  again  in  the  year  31  also,  setting 
out  from  near  Al  Massissah  and  penetrating  as  far  as  Darawaliyah. 
On  his  return  he  destroyed  all  the  fortresses  belonging  to  the 
Greeks  between  this  place  and  Antakiyyah.  After  the  first  con- 
quest Tarsus,  Adhanah,  and  Al  Massissah,  with  the  other  for- 
tresses adjoining,  did  not  cease  to  remain  in  Muslim  hands  till 
they  fell  to  the  Greeks,  after  the  battle  of  Magharat  al  Kuhl,  in 
the  year  349  (960),  when  the  Greek  armies  defeated  Saif  ad  Daulah 
and  drove  him  back  on  Halab.  Then  in  351  the  Greeks  came 
down  against  Halab  also,  and  Saif  ad  Daulah,  with  the  other  Turk 
Amirs  in  Syria,  lost  all  power,  and  retired  to  Miyafarikin  across 
the  Euphrates.  Al  Massissah  and  Tarsus  were  then  refortified  by 
the  Greeks,  as  also  all  the  other  frontier  fortresses  in  their  hands. 
This  was  in  the  year  354  (965),  and  Tarsus,  with  the  rest,  remain 
in  their  hands  to  the  present  day  (thirteenth  century),  and  are 
governed  by  Leo  the  King  of  the  Armenians."  (Yak,  i.  927  ; 
Mar.,  i.  228  ) 

" The Thughur," says  Dimashki,  "are  divided  into  two  sections  : 
the  Thughur  of  Syria  and  the  Thughur  of  Mesopotamia.  These 
are  divided  each  from  the  other  by  the  Jabal  al  Lukkam. 

"The  Mesopotamia!!  fortresses  are  Malatiyyah — which  the 
Greeks  call  Maltaya,  and  it  lies  a  mile  from  the  Euphrates  ; 
Kamakh,  to  the  west  of  the  Euphrates  ;  Shamshat,  also  west  of  the 
Euphrates  ;  Al  Birah,  east  of  the  Euphrates  ;  Hisn  Mansur;  Kala'at 
ar  Rum,  west  of  the  Euphrates  ;  Hadath  al  Hamra  ;  Mar'ash,  first 
built  by  Khalid  ibn  al  Walid,  rebuilt  by  the  Khalif  Marwan  ibn  al 
Hakim,  and  afterwards  again  by  the  Khalif  al  Mansur. 

"The  Syrian  fortresses  are  Tarsus,  Adhanah,  Al  Massissah,  and 
Haruniyyah,  built  by  Harun  ar  Rashid,  in  the  early  days  of  his 
father's  Khalifate.  Also  Sis,  called  Sisah  ;  when  the  Armenians 
took  it  they  made  it  the  capital  of  their  kingdom  (of  Little  Arme- 
nia) ;  Ayas,  called  also  Ayagh — this  last  is  the  port  of  Sis  on  the 
sea."  (Dim.,  214.) 

Such  were  the  Junds,  or  military  districts,  of  Syria,  down  to 
the  tenth  century  of  our  era.  Already,  however,  and  apparently 
even  before  that  epoch,  the  system,  being  no  longer  required  for 


the  cantonment  of  troops,  had   begun   to   fall   into  disorganiza- 

Mukaddasi  in  985  describes  Syria  as  divided  into  six  districts, 
which  differ  in  some  minor  points  from  the  original  Junds.  The 
difference,  however,  is  more  apparent  than  real.  Further,  some  of 
the  names  in  Mukaddasi's  lists  would  appear  to  have  been  trans- 
posed by  the  copyists.  Mukaddasi's  six  districts  are  : 

"  i.  The  District  of  Kinnasrm. — Its  capital  is  Halab  (Aleppo), 
and  among  its  cities  are  Antakiyyah  (Antioch),  Balis,  As-Suwai- 
diyyah,  Sumaisat  (Samasata),  Manbij,  Bayyas,  At-Tinah,  Kinnasrin, 
Mar'ash,  Iskandarunah,  *Lajjun,  *Rafaniyyah,  *Jusiyah,  *Hamah, 
*Shaizar,  *Wadi-Butnan,  Ma'arrah-an-Nu'man,  Ma'arrah-Kinnas- 

"  2.  The  District  of  Uims  (£mesa).—Its  capital  bears  the  same 
name.  Among  its  cities  are  :  Salamiyyah,  Tadmur  (Palmyra), 
Al-Khunasirah,  Kafar-Tab,  Al-Ladhikiyyah,  Jabalah,  Antarsus, 
Bulunyas,  Hisn  al  Khawabi. 

"  3.  The  District  of  Dimashk  (Damascus). — Its  capital  is  of  the 
same  name.  Among  its  cities  are  :  Baniyas,  Darayya,  Saida  (Sidon), 
Bairut,  Atrabulus  (Tripoli),  'Arkah,  and  the  district  of  the  Bika',  of 
which  the  chief  city  is  Ba'albakk,  and  to  which  appertain  the 
towns  of  Kamid,  'Arjamush,  and  Az-Zabadani. 

"  The  province  of  Damascus  includes  six  districts,  namely,  the 
Ghutah,  Hauran,  the  Bathaniyyah,  the  Jaulan,  the  Bika',  and  the 

"4.  The  District  of  Al-Urdunn  (the  Jordan). — Its  capital  is 
Tabariyyah  (Tiberias).  Among  its  towns  are  :  Kadas,  Stir  (Tyre), 
'Akka  (Acre),  Al-Faradhiyyah,  Al-I^jjun,  Kabtil,  Baisan,  and 

"  5.  The  District  of  Filastm  (Palestine).— \te  capital  is  Ar- 
Ramlah.  Among  its  cities  are :  Bait-al-Makdis  (Jerusalem),  Bait 
Jibril,  Ghazzah  (Gaza),  Maimas,  'Askalan  (Ascalon),  Yafah 
(Joppa),  Arsuf,  Kaisariyyah  (Csesarea),  Nabulus  (Shechem),  Ariha 
(Jericho),  and  'Amman. 

"  6.  The  District  of  Ash-Sharah,  and  for  its  capital  we  should 
put  Sughar.  Its  chief  towns  are  :  Maab,  'Ainuna,  Mu'an,  Tabtik, 
Adhruh,  Wailah,  and  Madyan."  (Muk.,  156.) 


In  the  Kinnasrin  district  the  names  marked  with  an  asterisk 
(*)  are  in  another  list  given  by  Mukaddasi  (Muk.,  54)  assigned  to 
the  Hims  Province.  Even  thus,  however,  the  lists  are  a  good 
deal  in  confusion,  as  may  be  seen  by  a  reference  to  the  map ;  for 
while  Rafaniyyah,  and  Jusiyah  may  very  rightly  be  assigned  to 
the  Hims  district,  Al  Khunasirah,  and  Kafar  Tab,  given  to  Hims 
in  the  second  (*)  list,  in  reality  lie  far  to  the  north  of  the  boundary 

Mukaddasi  further  places  Adhri'ah,  generally  noted  as  the 
capital  of  the  Bathaniyyah  district  (a  dependency  of  the  Damascus 
Province),  among  the  towns  of  the  Urdunn  Province.  The 
boundary  line  between  the  Damascus  and  Jordan  Provinces  appears 
to  have  been  somewhat  ill-defined,  and  the  lands  lying  immediately 
to  the  east  of  the  Jordan  Cleft  were  at  times  counted  as  of  the 
one  province  and  at  times  of  the  other. 

This  system  of  military  Junds  received  its  final  death-blow  in 
the  twelfth  century,  on  the  coming  of  the  Crusaders  and  the  in- 
stitution of  the  Latin  kingdom  of  Jerusalem  with  the  baronies  and 
counties  dependent  thereon.  After  Saladin  and  his  successors 
had  expelled  the  Christians,  and  re-established  the  Muslim  do- 
minion, Syria  and  Palestine  nominally  belonged  to  the  ruler  of 
Egypt,  but  in  point  of  fact  was  divided  up  among  a  number  of 
minor  Sultans,  the  descendants  of  Saladin  and  his  brothers. 
Dimashki,  writing  in  1300,  states  that  since  the  rise  of  the  Turk 
power  (meaning  the  house  of  Saladin),  Syria  had  been  divided 
into  nine  Kingdoms  (Mamfak&t).  The  exact  limits  of  each 
are  not  easy  to  define,  for  the  accidents  of  war  and  of  dis- 
puted succession  among  Saladin's  descendants  rendered  these 
"  Kingdoms  "  far  from  stable.  The  list  of  the  nine  kingdoms, 
however,  is  as  follows,  as  given  by  Dimashki : 

i.  The  Kingdom  of  Damascus,  the  largest  in  point  of  size  and 
the  most  influential,  since  Damascus  was  still  the  capital  of 

"  It  includes,"  says  Dimashki,  "  ninety  districts  (Iklim)."  Many 
of  them  he  enumerates.  It  will  be  sufficient,  however,  to  state 
that  in  the  Damascus  kingdom  were  included  the  lands  of  the 
Ghautah  Plain  in  all  its  length  and  breadth  ;  the  Lebanon  moun- 


tains,  with  the  plain  of  Coelo-Syria  and  Ba'albakk  ;  the-  \V;':di 
Barada,  and  northward  along  the  Hims  Road  the  country  as 
far  as  Kara  ;  the  districts  of  Laja  (Trachonitis),  Jaulan,  Hauran  and 
Bathaniyyah  :  and  the  Balka.  Further,  to  Damascus  at  one  time 
belonged  Jerusalem,  and  Ar  Ramlah  with  its  territories,  also 
Nal  mlus,  the  whole  of  the  Ghaur  of  the  Jordan,  upper,  middle, 
and  lower ;  Hebron  ;  with  all  the  coast  towns,  such  as  'Askalan, 
Kaisariyyah,  Yafa,  'Akka,  Saida,  Sur,  and  Bairut.  (Dim.,  198-202.) 

2.  South  of  this  lay  the  Kingdom  of  Ghazzah  (Gaza),  the  capital 
of  which  was  anciently  called  Ghazzah  Hashim.     "  It  is  a  city  so 
rich  in  trees  as  to  be  like  a  cloth  of  brocade  spread  out  on  the 
sand.     To  the  Ghazzah  Kingdom  at  times  were  counted  'Askalan, 
which  belonged  to  the  Franks,  and  which  the  Muslims  took  and 
destroyed;    Ycifa  (Jaffa),   Kaisariyyah,  Arsuf,  Ad  Darun,  and  Al 

"  Of  towns  lying  between  the  coast  and  the  mountains  belonging 
at  times  to  Ghaz/ah  are :  Tall  Himar,  Tall  as  Safiyah,  Karatayya, 
Bait  Jibrail,  Madinah  Khalil  (Hebron),  Bait  al  Mukaddas  (Jeru- 
salem). Each  of  these  has  a  separate  governor."  (Dim.,  213.) 

3.  The  Kingdom  of  Karak.   "  Here  are  Karak  and  Shaubak.  To 
it  belong    Ma'an,  the  village  of  Mutah,   Al  Lajjun,  Al  Hisa,  Al 
Azrak,  As  Salt,  Wadi  Musa,  the  territory  of  Madyan,    Kulzum, 
Ar  Rayyan  ;  also  in  the  Ghaur,  Az  Zarka  and  Al  Azrak  ;  Al  Jifar, 
At  Tih  (the  Desert  of  the  Wanderings),  with  'Amman,  of  which 
only  the  ruins  remain  ;  and  the  territory  of  Al  Balka.     The  Iklim 
Al  Jibal  is  also  included  in   the  Karak  kingdom  ;  its  chief  town 
is  Ash  Sharah,  and  the  city  of  Kab,  which  lies  twelve  miles  from 
it."     (Dim,  213.) 

4.  The  Kingdom  of  Safad.     "  Its  capital  is  Safad.     To  it  belong 
Marj  'Ayyun  (Ijon),  Al  Lajjun  (Legio,  Megiddo),  to  which  belongs 
Al  'Ashir  and  Al  Hawa,  Jinin  (Ginaea),  with  'Akka,   Sur  (Tyre) 
and  Saida  (Sidon)."     (Dim,  210-212.) 

5.  The  Kingdom  of  Tarabulus.  where  are  the   castles    of  the 
sect  of  the  Assassins. 

6.  The  Kingdom  of  Hims,  anciently  the  Hims  Jund.     "  Hims 
is  the  capital,  and  the  seat  of  government.     It  is  the  smallest  of 
the  Turkish  Governments  of  Syria  ;  but  of  its  dependencies  are 


Shamsin,  Shumaimis,  and'thecity  of  Salamiyyah  with  four  districts." 
(Dim.,  202.) 

7.  The  Kingdom  of  If  amah.     "  Hamah  is  the  capital ;  and  of 
its  districts  are :  Barin,  a  strong  fortress ;  also  Salamiyyah  on  the 
border    of  the  desert  (or  else  this  belongs  to  Hims)."      (Dim., 

8.  The  Kingdom  of  Halab   (Aleppo).     "  Halab  is  the  capital. 
Besides  the  'Awasim  district,  Halab  possesses  the  following  :  Al 
Khunasirah,  on  the  border  of  the  desert ;  and  Jabal  Bani-1  Ka'ku, 
which  used  to  be  called  Kasrain  ath  Thaniyah ;  and  Kinnasrin, 
which  was  the  ancient  capital  prior  to  Halab.     This  last  is  an 
ancient  Roman  city,  and  its  name  of  old  was  Suma. 

"  Among  other  places  are  Manbij,  on  the  Euphrates,  built  by 
one  of  the  Chosroes,  and  called  Manbih,  meaning  '  most  excellent.' 
In  its  dependencies  is  Kala'ah  Najm,  called  also  Jisr  Manbij. 
Tall  Bashir,  by  which  runs  the  river  As  Sajur,  down  from  'Ain  Tab. 
Kala'ah  ar  Rum,  where  the  Khalifah  of  Armenia  and  the  Patriarch 
dwell.  Also  Yaghra,  situated  on  a  fresh-water  lake  formed  by  the 
Nahr  al  'Aswad,  and  lying  between  the  lake  and  Baghras  and 
Antakiyyah.  Haruniyyah,  built  by  Harun  ar  Rashid,  and  many 
other  places.  In  all,  there  are  sixty  districts  belonging  to  Aleppo, 
each  with  gardens  and  lands  adjoining."  (Dim.,  202-206.) 

9.  The  Kingdom  of  Rum.  "  North  of  the  Kingdom  of  Aleppo 
lies  the  kingdom  governed  by  the  Tartars,  the  Armenians,  and 
the  Greeks.  This  in  reality  is  separate  from  Syria,  and  is  called 
the  Kingdom  of  Rum."  (Dim.,  192.) 

The  author  of  the  Muthir,  writing  in  the  year  1351,  gives  the 
following  as  the  political  divisions  of  Syria  at  his  date.  He  has 
been  copied  verbatim  by  Suyuti,  and  other  later  writers  : 

"The  first  town  of  Syria  is  Balis,  and  the  last  Al  Arish,  of 
Egypt.  Syria  is  divided  into  five  districts,  namely  :  — 

"  i.  Filastin,  whose  capital  is  Ilaya  (^Elia,  Jerusalem),  eighteen 
miles  from  Ar-Ramlah,  which  is  the  Holy  City,  the  metropolis 
of  David  and  Solomon.  Of  its  towns  are  Ascalon,  Hebron, 
Sibastiyah,  and  Nabulus. 

"2.  Hauran,  whose  capital  is  Tiberias,  with  its  lake,  whereof 
mention  occurs  in  the  traditions  anent  Gog  and  Magog.  It  is 


said  that  at  the  time  of  the  birth  of  the  Prophet — to  whom  Allah 
give  blessing  and  peace  !— the  lake  overflowed.  Of  its  territories 
are  those  of  the  Ghaur,  of  the  Yarmilk  (Hieromax),  and  of  Baisan 
(Bethshean,  Scythopolis),  which  is  the  town  of  whose  palm-trees 
the  Antichrist  (Ad  Dajjal)  will  inquire.  Also  Al  Urdunn  (the 
Jordan),  more  often  called  Ash  Shari'ah. 

"  3.  The  Ghutah.  Its  capital  is  Damascus  ;  Tripoli  is  on  its 

"4.  Hims  (Emessa).  The  name  of  the  province,  and  of  its 
chief  town.  Of  its  dependencies  is  the  city  of  Salamaniyah 

"5.  Kinnasrin.  Its  chief  town  is  Aleppo,  and  of  its  depen- 
dencies are  Sarmin  and  Antioch."  (Muth.  I.,  in  S.,  vol.  xix.  of 
J.R.A.S.,  p.  296.) 

In  the  beginning  of  the  fifteenth  century  the  possession  of  Syria 
was  wrested  from  the  Mamluk  Sultans  of  Egypt  by  the  Ottoman 
Turks  of  Constantinople.  The  Mamluks  were  defeated  in  a  great 
battle,  by  Sultan  Selim,  in  the  plains  to  the  north  of  Aleppo  (1518), 
and  Syria  became  a  province  of  the  Turkish  Empire. 


The  Rtvenues  of  Syria. — Several  statements  have  come  down  to 
us  of  the  revenues  of  the  districts  of  Ash  Sham,  during  the  period 
immediately  preceding  the  Crusades,  when  that  province  formed 
an  integral  portion  of  the  Muslim  Empire. 

The  sums  are  reckoned  in  Dinars  and  Dirhams,  the  standard 
gold  and  silver  coins  instituted  by  the  Omayyad  Khalif  'Abd  al 
Malik,  about  the  year  72  (691).  The  names  Dinar  and  Dirham 
the  Arabs  borrowed  from  denarius  and  drachma,  denarius  being 
the  name  of  the  silver  coin  among  the  Romans,  which  the  Greeks 
termed  the  drachma.  In  passing  to  the  Arabs,  however,  denarius, 
or  Dinar,  came  to  be  the  name  of  their  gold  coin,  worth,  in  the 
ninth  and  tenth  centuries,  something  under  ten  shillings.  It 
weighs  rather  over  59 \  grains  Troy.  The  drachma,  or  Dirham, 
continued  the  name  of  the  silver  coin  with  the  Muslims,  and 
during  the  same  period  was  exchanged  at  the  rate  of  about  fifteen 
Dirhams  to  the  gold  Dinar.  The  Dirham  weighs  about  47  \  grains 


Troy,  and,  at  the  ratio  of  gold  and  silver  of  those  early  days,  was 
worth  about  eightpence. 

To  form,  however,  a  just  idea  of  what  the  sums  named  in  the 
following  lists  represent  in  the  currency  of  the  present  day,  some 
account  must  be  taken  of  the  depreciation  of  the  purchasing  power 
of  gold  and  silver,  since  the  discovery  of  the  New  World  in  the 
fifteenth  century.  Previous  to  that  period,  as  it  is  generally 
estimated,  an  ounce  of  gold  commanded  an  amount  of  food  and 
labour  which  would  be  paid  by  three  ounces  at  the  present  day. 
Hence,  though  a  Dinar  be  the  equivalent  in  gold  of  about  ten 
shillings  sterling,  it  was  equal  to  at  least  thirty  shillings  in  pur- 
chasing power  of  the  moneys  of  the  present  day.  With  regard  to 
the  silver  coin,  the  Dirhani,  a  like  calculation  has  to  be  made, 
which  further  has  to  be  modified  if  we  take  into  account  the 
great  depreciation  which  silver  has  suffered  in  modern  times. 
An  ounce  of  gold  in  Mukaddasi's  days  bought,  approximately 
speaking,  12  ounces  of  silver,  while  at  the  present  day  (1889)  for 
an  ounce  of  gold  we  should  get  some  22 J  ounces  of  silver. 
Therefore,  though  the  Dirham  is  worth  intrinsically  about  eight- 
pence,  but  would,  as  one  fifteenth  part  of  a  gold  Dinar,  purchase 
goods,  at  the  present  day,  for  the  value  of  three  times  this  amount 
(i.e.  two  shillings) — silver  itself  having  now  so  much  fallen  in 
value,  the  purchasing  power  of  the  Dirham's  weight  of  silver  is 
reduced  to  almost  half  this  latter  amount,  and  in  the  currency  of 
to-day  it  may  therefore  be  reckoned  at  somewhat  over  the  shilling. 

i.  The  earliest  date  of  which  we  have  details  of  the  Revenues 
of  the  Muslim  Empire  is  the  account  preserved  by  Ibn  Khaldun, 
in  the  "  Prolegomena  "  of  his  Universal  History,  a  work  written  in 
the  fourteenth  century  A.D. 

Ibn  Khaldun  says  he  copied  the  account  from  a  work  called 
Jirah  ad  Daulah  ("The  Provision-Sack  of  the  State"),  and  that  it 
represents  the  tribute  paid  during  the  reign  of  the  Khalif  al 
Mamun.  Internal  evidence,  however,  makes  it  certain  that  the 
statement  refers  to  a  date  about  half  a  century  before  the  days  of 
Al  Mamun;  namely,  to  the  Khalifate  of  his  grandfather,  Al 
Mahdi — that  is,  between  158  and  170  A.M.,  or  about  780  A.D 
The  original  Arabic  will  be  found  in  the  first  volume  of  the  Cairo 


edition  of  the  text  of  Ibn  Khaldun,  at  page  150.  The  figures  in 
brackets  are  readings  from  other  MSS.  given  by  De  Slane  in  his 
translation  of  the  "  Prolegomena  "  (vol.  i.  364)  : 


Kinnasrin  Province  .  400,000  (420,000),  phis  a  thousand  loads  of  olive-oil. 
Hims  Province  .  Wanting. 

Damascus  Province       .     420,000. 
Jordan  Province  .     97,000  (96,000). 

\  310,000,  plus  300,000  Rails  (Syrian  pounds)  of  olive- 
Filastin  Province  .  j  J 

(      oil. 

Total  :   i  227,000  (1,246,000)  Dinars,  about ,£620,000  sterling  intrinsically, 
or  something  short  of  two  millions  sterling  of  our  money. 

2.  During  the  reign  of  Harun  ar  Rashid  (A.H.   170  to   193) 
about  the  year  800  A.D.,  a  summary  of  the  revenues  of  the  Muslim 
Empire  was  prepared  for  the  use  of  the  Wazir  Yahya,  the  Barme- 
cide.    This  summary  is  preserved  in  the  Kitab  al  Wusard,  "  The 
Book  of  the  Wazirs,"  written  by  Al  Jahshiyari ;  it  was  brought  to 
the  notice  of  the  Seventh  Orientalist  Congress  at  Vienna  by  A. 
von  Kremer,  and  parts  of  the  text  were  published  by  him  in  the 
Transactions  ( Verhandlungen^  Semitische  Section.      Wien^  1888). 

According  to  this  work  the  following  were  the  sums  received  by 
the  treasury  during  the  reign  of  the  great  Khalif.  They  are 
identical  in  most  cases  with  Ibn  Khaldun's  list  already  given  : 

Kinnasrin  and  Al  'Awasim  Provinces  .     470,000. 

Hims  Province.  .  j  320'000'  Plus    '.°°°   camel-loads  of 

(      raisins. 

Damascus  Province       .  .  . .  420,000. 

Jordan  Province  .  .  .       96,000. 

Filastin  Province  .  .  .     310,000. 

And  in  addition,  from  all  the  Syrian  Junds  together,  300,000  Ratls 
(Syrian  pounds)  of  raisins. 

Total :   1,616,000  Dinars,  or  about  £808,000  sterling,  equivalent  to  nearly 
two  and  a  half  millions  of  our  present  currency. 

3.  The  next  statement  of  the  Revenues  dates  from  a  period  half 
*  Az  Zabib,  probably  a  mistake  in  the  MS.  for  Az  Za*/,  "  olive-oil." 


a  century  later  than  the  foregoing.  It  is  given  by  Kudamah  in  his 
work  called  Kitab  al  Kharaj  ("The  Book  of  the  Land  Tax"), 
written  about  the  year  880  A.D.,  and  purports  to  have  been  copied 
from  official  lists  of  the  year  204  A.H.  (820).  He  gives  the  sums 
in  both  Dinars  and  their  equivalent  Dirhams. 

Extracts  from  Kudamah's  text  will  be  found  in  De  Slane's  paper 
in  the  Journal  Asiatique  for  the  year  1862,  from  which  the  follow- 
ing is  copied : 

Dtndrs,  or  in  Dirhams. 

Kinnasrin  and  'Avvasim  Provinces     .  .  .     360,000  5,400,000 

Hims  Province  .....      118,000  1,770,000 

Damascus  Province   .....      120,000  i,8oo,oco 

Jordan  Province         .....      109,000  1,635,000 

Filastin  Province        .....     195,000  2,925,000 

This  makes  a  total  of  902,000  Dinars,  equivalent  10^451,000  intrinsically, 
close  on  a  million  and  a  half  in  our  present  currency. 

4.  Ibn  Khurdadbih,  in  his  Book  of  the  Roads  and  the  Provinces, 
gives  the  following  sums.     The  text  will  be  found  on  pages  7 1  and 
73  of  the  extracts  given  by  Barbier  de  Meynard  in  the  Journal 
Asiatique  for  the  year  1865.      Ibn  Khurdadbih's  figures  are  also 
identical  with  those  given  by  Ibn  al  Fakih,  who  wrote  in  903. 
(I.  F.,  103,  105,  no,  in,  and  116.)     Ibn  Khurdadbih  drew  his 
account  from  the  official  lists  giving  the  revenues  of  the    years 
immediately  preceding  the  writing  of  his   book— that  is,  about 
A.I).  864: 

Dindrs,  or  in  Dirhams. 

Kinnasrin  and  'Awasim  Provinces    .  .  .     400,000  6,000,000 

Hims  Province  .  .     340,000  5, 100,000 

Damascus  Province    .  .  .     400,000  6,000,000 

Jordan  Province          .  .  .     350,000  3,250,000 

Filastin  Province       .  .  .     500,000  7,500,000 

The  total  is  1,990,000  Dinars,  or  about  a  million  sterling,  equivalent,  how- 
ever, to  three  millions  of  the  present  currency. 

5.  Ibn    Khurdadbih,  besides   the  figures  just   given,  cites  the 
following  on  the  authority  of  Al  Isfahani,  who  flourished  in  the 
earlier  part  of  the  ninth  century  A.D.  : 



Hims  Province      .  .  .  .  .•        .  .  .          .  under  180,000 

Damascus  Province  .  .  .  •  »'  ,,       140,000 

Jordan  Province    .  .  .  •  ,  .     ,,       175,000 

Filastin  Province  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     ,,       175,000 

This  makes  a  total  of  only  670,000  Dinars,   or  ^335, ooo,  equivalent  to 
about  a  million  sterling  of  the  present  currency. 

6.  Yakubi,  who  wrote  his  Geography  in  891,  gives  the  following 



Hims  Province,  not  including  state  farms         .  .  ,  .          .     220,000 

Damascus  Province,  including  state  farms       .  .  .  .     300,000 

Jordan  Province,  without  the  farms      .  .  .  .     100,000 

Filastin  Province,  including  farms        .  '..  ,  .  .     300,000 

Making  a  total   of  920,000  Dinars,  that  is  ^460,000  equivalent  to  rather 
under  a  million  and  a  half  of  our  currency.    (Yb.  112,  115,  116,  and  117.) 

7.  According  to  Ibn  Haukal  (I.  H.,  128),  the  revenue  of  Syria 
in  A.H.  296  (908),  and  in  A.H.  306  (918),  after  deduction  of  the 
pay  of  the  officers,  was  39,000,000  Dirhams ;  that  is  ^1,300,000, 
equivalent  to  almost  four  millions  of  the  present  day. 

8.  Ibn  al  Fakih,  and  Ibn  Khurdadbih's  figures,  are  copied  by 
Mukaddasi,  who,  however,  gives  the  following  as  the  revenue  in 
his  own  days,  A.D.  985.     (Muk.,  189.) 


Kinnasrln  nnd  Al  'Awasim     .  .          '  .  .  ^.  .     360,000 

Damascus  Province    .  .  .  .  .  .  400,000 

Jordan  Province          .  .  .....  .  .  .      170,000 

Filastin  Province         .  .  .  .  .  .     259,000 

This  gives  a  total  of  1,189,000  Dinars,  or  about  ^600,000,  equivalent  to 
;£ i, 800,000  of  the  present  currency. 

After  Mukaddasi's  days,  apparently  there  is  no  known  record  of 
the  revenues  of  Syria.  A  century  later  came  the  Crusaders  ;  and 
when,  after  another  century,  the  country  had  reverted  again  to  the 
Muslims,  what  Saladin  and  his  successors  in  Egypt  drew  from  the 
Syrian  revenues  is  not  recorded. 

The  following  table  gives  a  summary  of  the  total  revenues  of 
the  Syrian  Provinces  at  the  various  epochs  indicated  in  the  fore- 
going paragraphs : 


1.  Revenues  of  about  the  year  780  A. D. 

2.  Revenues  of  Haran  ar  Rashid's  days  (about  800)  . 

3.  Revenues  in  the  year  820    .... 

4.  Revenues  about  the  year  864 

5.  Revenues  in  the  eai'ly  part  of  the  ninth  century     . 

6.  Revenues  in  891 

7.  Revenues  in   908  and    918,   39,000,000    Dirhams 

equal  to    . 

8.  Revenues  in  985      ..... 



'"«  £•* 


















The  names  of  the  Arab  weights  and  measures  are,  many  of 
them,  taken  from  the  Greek  or  Latin,  being  those  that  were  in  use 
in  the  Syrian  provinces  of  the  Byzantine  Empire  at  the  time  of  the 
Muslim  invasion.  Thus  the  Mudt  is  the  Roman  corn-measure, 
the  Modius,  generally  rendered  by  bushel.  The  Ukiyyah  is  the 
Greek  Ouyy/'a,  or  ounce ;  and  the  Rail  (pronounced  also  Ritl  and 
Rutl)  is,  by  inversion  of  the  "  1 "  and  "  r,"  the  Greek  Alrpa,  or 
litre.  The  Arabic  Kirdt,  which  we  have  borrowed,  and  spell 
"  carat,"  was,  in  the  first  instance,  an  Arab  corruption  of  the  Greek 
word  Ktpariov,  the  fruit  of  the  keratea,  carob  or  locust  tree,  better 
known  as  the  St.  John's  bread. 

The  names  of  the  Kafiz,  Waibah,  Sa\  Kailajah,  and  Habb  (or 
weight  of  a  grain}  are  all  of  native  Arab  origin.  The  Kabb  is 
etymologically  identical  with  the  Hebrew  word  "cab,"  a  measure 
containing  a  quart  and  a  third.  In  Greek,  too,  we  find  Kafe  for 
the  name  of  a  corn-measure  ;  and  the  Greeks  are  said  to  have 
received  the  name  from  the  East. 

The  Makktik  is  said  to  have  been  adopted  from  the  Persians, 
with  whom  it  was  the  royal  drinking-cup,  in  shape  resembling  a 
boat  ;  and  "  Makkuk "  is  even  at  the  present  day  in  Persia  the 
name  given  to  the  weaver's  shuttle,  which  has  a  boat-like  form. 

The  Danik,  which  was  the  sixth  part  of  either  Dirham  or  Dinar, 
is  also  a  Persian  word ;  and  Danak  in  that  language  signifies  "  a 

*  Intrinsically ;  to  be  multiplied  by  three  to  obtain  the  value  in  coin  of  the 
present  day. 


The  basis  of  the  Arab  measures  of  capacity  is  the  £a\  the  corn- 
measure  of  the  days  of  the  Prophet,  which  was  ruled  to  contain 
the  equivalent  of  "  four  times  the  quantity  of  corn  that  fills  the 
two  hands,  that  are  neither  large  nor  small,  of  a  man."*  Roughly 
speaking,  it  may  be  taken  as  rather  more  than  5  pints ;  and  on 
this  estimate  the  following  equivalents,  in  English  measures,  are 
calculated.  The  Kist,  which  was  half  a  Sd\  came  from  the 
Greek  3'sffTqg,  which  represents  the  Roman  sextarius. 

As  regards  the  system  of  weights,  the  unit  is  the  silver  Dirham 
weight,  equivalent  to  about  47!  English  grains.  It  must,  how- 
ever, be  remembered  that  the  Ratl  (or  pound-weight)  is  not  only 
a  standard  of  weight,  but  also  a  measure  of  capacity ;  for  the 
Arabs,  like  the  Romans,  calculated  cubic  measure  by  the  weight 
of  a  specific  quantity  of  oil  or  wine.  In  the  same  double  capacity, 
the  Kafiz  is  not  only  the  corn-measure,  but  also  the  land-measure, 
being  the  land  that  may  be  sown  with  that  quantity  of  corn,  and, 
as  such,  counted  as  the  tenth  part  of  the  Jarib,  the  normal  square 
measure  for  cultivated  lands. 

The  unit  of  length  was  the  Dhira\  or  ell,  which,  however, 
varied  at  different  epochs.  The  Royal  Ell  (Dhtra?  Mdltki]  of  the 
tenth  century  measured  about  18  inches  in  length  ;  while  the 
Workman's  Ell,  in  use  at  a  later  date  (fourteenth  and  fifteenth 
centuries),  measured  about  2\  feet. 

The  Persian  traveller  Nasir-i-Khusrau,  whose  measurements  are, 
archaeologically,  of  great  importance,  makes  use  of  two  Persian 
units  of  length — namely,  Gez  and  Ars/i.  The  latter  is  given  as 
the  equivalent  of  the  Arabic  Dhira',  ell  or  cubit ;  while  the  Gez 
is  generally  reckoned  to  be  longer  than  the  cubit,  and  is  given  in 
the  dictionaries  as  roughly  equivalent  to  the  English  yard.  A 
careful  comparison  of  the  passages  in  which  Nasir-i-Khusrau 
employs  these  measures  leads,  however,  to  the  conclusion  that  he 
used  the  terms  as  synonymous,!  and  that  both  the  Gez  (ell)  and 
the  Arsh  (cubit)  may  be  taken  as  measuring  somewhat  under 
two  English  feet. 

The    Arab    Mil^    or    mile,    was    directly   borrowed    from    the 

*    Vide  Lane's  Arabic  Dictionary,  s.  v.  SA\ 

f  See  Chapter  III.,  description  by  Nasir-i-Khusrau  of  the  Dome  of  the  Rock. 



Byzantines ;  it  contained  4,000  DhinV,  or  ells,  and  may,  therefore, 
be  reckoned  at  somewhat  over  2,000  yards.  Roughly  speaking, 
it  is  the  geographical  mile,  or  knot.  Three  Arab  miles  commonly 
went  to  the  Farsakh,  a  word  borrowed  by  the  Arabs  from  the 
Persians,  who  wrote  Farsang,  from  the  Greek  irapaadyyaz. 

Throughout  Syria,  as  in  all  other  parts  of  the  Muslim  Empire, 
there  was  a  network  of  post-roads,  with  post-houses,  where  horses 
were  kept  at  the  Government  expense.  The  post-stage  was  called 
by  the  Arabs  Al  Band.  The  institution  is  of  very  ancient  date, 
and  the  word  used  by  the  Arabs  is  probably  a  corruption  of  the 
Latin  Veredus — "a  post-horse."  The  length  of  the  stage  naturally 
varied  with  the  nature  of  the  country  to  be  traversed. 

Mukaddasi  writes  as  follows  on  the  Measures  and  Weights  of  Syria 
during  his  days — namely,  at  the  close  of  the  tenth  century  A.D.  : 

"  Measures  of  Capacity. — The  people  of  Ar  Ramlah  (the  capital 
of  Palestine)  make  use  of  the  Kafiz,  the  Waibah,  the  Makkuk, 
and  the  Kailajah. 

"  The  Kailajah  (or  gallon)  contains  about  i  \  Sa's. 

"  The  Makkuk  (3  gallons)  equals  3  Kailajahs. 

"  The  Waibah  (6  gallons)  is  2  Makkuks. 

"  The  Kafiz  (3  bushels)  is  4  Waibahs. 

"  The  people  of  Jerusalem  are  wont  to  make  use  of  the  Mudi 
(2  bushels),  wThich  contains  two-thirds  of  a  Kafiz;  and  of  the 
Kabb,  which  equals  a  quarter  of  the  Mudi ;  and  they  do  not  use 
the  Makkuk  at  all,  except  in  the  Government  measurements. 

"  In  'Amman,  the  Mudi  equals  6  Kailajahs  (three-quarters  of  a 
bushel) — their  Kafiz  is  the  half  of  the  Kailajah  (or  gallon) — and 
by  this  measure  they  sell  their  olives  and  dried  figs. 

"  In  Tyre,  the  Kafiz  is  the  same  as  the  Mudi  of  Jerusalem, 
and  the  Kailajah  here  equals  the  Sa'. 

"  At  Damascus,  the  Ghirarah  contains  i  J  Palestine  Kafiz 
(equivalent,  therefore,  to  4!  bushels). 

"  Measures  of  Weight. — In  Syria,  from  Hims  (Emessa)  even  to 
(the  country  lying  between  Palestine  and  Egypt  known  as)  Al 
Jifar,  the  Ratls  average  600  (Dirhams  weight  each) ;  but  some 
more,  some  less.  Of  these  the  heaviest  is  the  Ratl  of  Acre,  and 
the  lightest  that  of  Damascus. 


"The  Ckiyyah  (ounce)  contains  from  40  and  odd  up  to  50 
(Dirhams  of  weight),  and  every  Ratl  contains  12  tkiyyah,  or 
ounces  (and  is  equivalent,  therefore,  to  6  Ibs.),  except  only  at 
Kinnasrin,  where  the  Ratl  is  two-thirds  of  this  (and  contains  only 
4  Ibs.). 

"  The  standard  weight  of  the  coin  in  Syria  is  very  nearly  every- 
where the  Dirham  weight  of  60  grains,  and  their  grain  (Habb)  is 
the  grain  of  barley-corn. 

"  The  Danik  (which  is  the  sixth  of  the  Dirham)  weighs 
10  grains. 

"  The  Dinar  contains  24  Kirats ;  and  their  Kirat  is  equivalent 
to  3!  barley-corns  (each  barley-corn  weighing  about  seven-tenths 
of  a  grain,  English). 

"  The  distance  between  the  post-stations  (the  Barid)  in  Syria  is 
generally  6  miles."  (Muk.,  181,  182.) 

Nasir-i-Khusrau  notes — 1047  A.D. — that  in  the  bazaars  of 
Aleppo  the  weight  in  use  was  the  Dhahiri  Ratl,  which  contains 
480  Dirhams  weight.  (N.  Kh.,  2.)  This  was  named  after  the 
Egyptian  Fatimite  Khalif,  Dhahir  li  Izazi  Din  Illah,  and  at  this 
rate  was  equivalent  to  about  3^  Ibs. 


SYRIA   AND  PALESTINE  (continued}. 

Rivers :  The  Jordan  and  its  tributaries — The  rivers  of  the  coast — The  rivers 
of  Damascus — The  Orontes. — Rivers  of  the  northern  provinces. 

Lakes  :  The  Dead  Sea— The  Lake  of  Tiberias— The  Hulah— Damascus 
Lakes — Lake  of  Hims  and  of  Afamiyyah — Lakes  of  Antioch. 

Mountains:  Sinai — Mount  Hor — The  Mount  of  Olives — Mountain- 
chains  of  Palestine  :  Ebal  and  Gerizim,  Jabal  'Amilah — The  Jaulan  hills 
— Lebanon  mountains — Mountains  round  Damascus — Hermon — Jabal  al 


Nahr  al  Urdunn. — The  Jordan,  in  the  earlier  Arab  chronicles, 
is  invariably  given  the  name  of  Al  Urdunn,  a  word  corresponding 
with  the  Hebrew  Ha-Yarden  (almost  always  written  with  the 
article),  meaning  "the  Descender." 

Al  Urdunn  further  gave  the  name  to  the  Military  Province 
(Jund)  of  the  Jordan.  After  the  time  of  the  Crusades  the  Jordan, 
in  the  Arab  histories,  begins  to  be  called  Ash  Shari'ah,  "the 
Watering-Place,"  the  name  by  which  it  is  known  to  the  Bedawin 
of  the  present  day. 

"  Nahr  al  Urdunn,"  says  Mukaddasi,  "  rises  above  Baniyas,  and 
descending,  forms  a  Lake  over  against  Kadas  (called  the  Hulah 
Lake) ;  thence  again  descending  to  Tiberias,  its  waters  spread 
out  and  form  the  Lake  bearing  that  name  ;  and  hence,  further 
descending  from  the  valley  of  the  Ghaur,  it  falls  into  the  Over- 
whelming Lake  (which  is  the  Dead  Sea).  The  river  Jordan  is  not 
navigable  for  boats." 

Mukaddasi  also  speaks  of  the  bridge  over  the  Jordan  south  of 
the  lower  end  of  the  Lake  of  Tiberias,  across  which  lies  the  road  to 


I  )amascus,  known  at  the  present  day  as  the  Jisr  al  Majami'ah. 
(Muk.,  184,  161.) 

Yakut,  quoting  from  Ahmed  Ibn  at  Tib  as  Sarakhsi  (died 
899  A.D.),  says  the  Jordan  is  divided  into  the  Greater  (Urdunn  al 
Kabir)>  which  is  the  Jordan  above  Tiberias ;  and  the  Lesser 
( Urdunn  as  Saghir),  which  is  the  Jordan  below  the  Sea  of  Galilee. 
"The  Jordan  waters  all  the  country  of  the  Ghaur  where  the 
sugar-canes  are  grown  in  the  lands  round  Baisan,  Karawa,  Ariha 
(Jericho),  and  Al  'Auja."  Yakut  refers  also  to  the  bridge  below 
the  Lake  of  Tiberias,  which  he  says  "  is  finely  built,  and  has  more 
than  twenty  arches.  The  Nahr  Yarmuk  (Hieromax)  joins  the 
Jordan  near  here,  coming  down  from  the  Bathaniyyah  Province." 
(Yak.,  i.  200.) 

"Nahr  al  Urdunn  (says  Abu-1  Fida,  writing  in  1321)  is  the 
river  of  the  Ghaur  called  also  Ash  Shari'ah  (the  Watering-place). 
Its  source  is  in  the  streams  that  flow  down  from  the  Mount  of 
Snow  (Hermon)  into  the  Lake  of  Baniyas  (Hulah).  From  this 
lake  the  Shari'ah  flows  out,  and  passing,  falls  into  the  Lake  of 
Tiberias.  From  the  Lake  of  Tiberias  it  passes  '  onward  going 
south.  The  river  Yarmuk  joins  the  Shari'ah  after  it  has  left  the 
I^ike  of  Tiberias,  and  at  a  point  between  that  lake  and  Al 
Kusair.  The  Shari'ah,  which  is  the  Nahr  Urdunn  aforesaid, 
flows  thence  southward  in  the  midst  of  the  Ghaur,  passing  by 
Baisan,  and  on,  south  again,  past  Riha  (Jericho) ;  and  again 
southward,  till  it  falls  into  the  Stinking  Lake,  which  is  the  Lake  of 
Zughar  (or  the  Dead  Sea)."  (A.  F.,  48.) 

"Nahr  al  Urdunn,  or  the  Shari'ah,"  writes  Dimashki,  "is  a 
river  with  abundant  water.  It  rises  at  Baniyas,  and  flows  down 
to  the  Hulah  district,  and  forms  the  Lake  of  Kadas — so  called 
after  the  Hebrew  city  (of  Kadesh  Naphthali),  the  remains  of  which 
are  on  the  hill  above — and  Kadas  was  the  name  of  the  Hebrew 
king  of  that  country.  Into  this  lake  there  fall  many  streams  and 
waters.  Passing  out  thence,  the  Jordan  traverses  the  district  of 
Al  Khaitah,  and  comes  to  the  Jisr  Ya'kub,  under  the  Kasj 
Ya'kub,  and  reaching  the  Sea  of  Tiberias,  falls  into  it.  Leaving 
this,  it  passes  to  the  Ghaur.  At  the  hot  springs  of  Tabariyyah, 
there  flows  out,  very  marvellous  to  see,  hot  salt-water." 


"  From  the  hot  springs,  too,  that  rise  at  a  village  called  Jadar 
(Gadara  (?),  at  present  Umm  Keis) — and  where  there  are  waters 
for  healing  every  sort  of  disease  that  men  suffer  from — there  comes 
down  a  great  river  (the  Yarmuk)  that  joins  the  Jordan,  after  it  has 
left  the  Lake  of  Tiberias,  at  a  place  called  Al  Majami'  in  the 
Ghaur.  The  two  rivers  then  become  one,  and  as  they  flow  on, 
their  waters  become  even  more  abundant,  for  near  Baisan  many 
springs  join  the  Jordan  ;  and  below  this  again  other  springs  come 
in,  till  at  last  the  Jordan  flows  into  the  Lake  of  Zughar,  which  is 
salt  and  stinking,  and  is  called  the  Lake  of  Lot.  The  river  flows 
into  it  but  does  not  flow  out.  The  lake  does  not  increase  in 
volume  in  winter  for  all  the  water  that  flows  down  to  it ;  neither 
does  the  quantity  of  its  waters  decrease  in  summer.  But  the 
Jordan  flows  into  it  night  and  day."  (Dim.,  107.) 

Nahr  al  Yarmiik  (the  ancient  Hieromax). — "The  river 
Yarmuk,"  says  Yakut,  "  is  a  Wadi  in  Syria,  running  into  the 
Ghaur.  The  waters  fall  into  the  river  Jordan,  and  thence  flow 
down  to  the  Stinking  Lake  (or  Dead  Sea).  Here,  on  the  Yarmuk, 
was  fought  the  great  battle  between  the  Muslims  and  the  Greeks, 
in  the  Khalif  Abu  Bakr's  days.  The  field  of  battle  was  a  Wadi 
called  Al  Wakusah  (the  Place  of  Breaking-up).  It  lies  in  the 
Hauran  Province  of  Syria.  The  Muslims,  in  the  days  of  Abu 
Bakr,  lay  encamped  on  the  Yarmuk  when  they  marched  to  make 
their  raid  against  the  Greeks.  They  fell  on  the  idolaters,  and 
Khalid  hastened  on  the  people  to  the  slaughter.  And  certain  of 
them  pursued  the  enemy  till  they  came  to  a  high  place  that 
overhung  a  ravine ;  down  into  this  the  enemy  fell,  for  they  did 
not  see  it,  the  day  being  misty,  or,  as  some  say,  because  it  was 
night-time.  Those  of  the  Greeks  who  fled  and  came  up  later  did 
not  know  what  was  happening  to  those  in  front ;  and  they  fell 
into  the  ravine  also.  It  was  impossible  to  count  those  of  the 
enemy  who  were  slain,  but  by  estimate  80,000  of  the  Greeks 
perished.  This  ravine  has  been  called  Al  Wakusah  from  that  day 
till  now,  because  the  Greek  army  was  'broken-up  there.'  When 
the  morning  dawned,  and  no  infidels  were  to  be  seen,  the  Muslims 
imagined  they  had  put  themselves  in  ambush ;  till  at  length  they 
gained  knowledge  of  their  state.  Such  as  were  left  fled,  the 


Muslims  following  them  and  slaying  them,  until  the  Greek  army 
was  completely  routed."  (Yak.,  iv.  893,  1015  ;  Mar.,  iii.  272,  339.) 

"  Nahral  Yarmuk  (the  river  Hieromax),"  says  Dimashki,  "  flows 
down  from  the  Jabal  Ar  Rayyan."  (Dim.,  no.) 

Nahr  az  Zarka  (the  river  Jabbok).— "  Nahr  az  Zarka  (the  Blue 
River)  flows  down  from  the  country  of  Hisban  (Heshbon),  and 
joins  the  Jordan."  (Dim.,  no.) 

"  It  is  a  large  river,"  says  Yakut,  "  and  it  falls  into  the  Ghaur. 
It  runs  through  green-clad  places  and  many  gorges,  and  it  was  the 
land  of  the  ancient  Himyarite  Tubba  kings.  In  this  country  are 
many  wild  animals  and  carnivorous  beasts."  (Yak.,  ii.  924.) 

Nahral  Maujib  (the  river  Arnon). — "  This,"  says  Idrisi,  "  is  the 
name  of  the  great  river,  with  a  deep  bed,  shut  in  by  two  cliffs  of 
the  mountain  sides,  which  you  pass  through  going  from  the  dis- 
trict of  Ash  Sharah  to  'Amman.  The  road  goes  between  these 
two  cliffs,  which  are  not  far  apart,  being  distant  so  little  space  that 
a  man  may  talk  to  another  across  them.  The  cliffs  overhang  the 
banks  of  the  river,  and  though,  as  just  said,  you  may  hear  a  man 
speak  across  from  one  to  the  other,  you  must  descend  six  miles 
and  ascend  six  if  you  would  get  from  the  one  cliff  to  that  opposite." 

(Id,  5.) 

"  Al  Mujib,  or  Al  Maujib,"  says  Yakut,  "  is  a  place  in  Syria, 
lying  between  Jerusalem  and  the  Balka  Province."  (Yak.,  iv. 
678  ;  Mar.,  iii.  171.) 

Nahr  al  'Auja  ("the  Crooked  River''),  or  Nahr  Abi  Fuirus 
("the  River  of  Peter's  Father"). — "This  is  a  river,"  writes  Yakut, 
"  running  some  twelve  miles  from  Ar  Ramlah  towards  the  north. 
It  rises  from  springs  in  the  mountains  in  the  neighbourhood  of 
Nabulus,  and  falls  into  the  sea  between  Arsuf  and  Yafa.  Many 
great  battles  have  been  fought  on  its  banks,  and  when  two  armies 
meet  beside  the  Nahr  Abi  Futrus,  it  is  always  the  army  on  the 
eastern  bank  that  is  routed.  Thus  it  was  at  the  battle  between 
the  Abbasides  and  Omayyads,  in  132  (750),  and  at  the  battle 
between  the  Tulunids  and  the  Khalif  al  Mu'tadid,  at  the  place 
called  At  Tawahln  (the  Mills),  on  its  banks."  (Yak.,  iv.  131; 
Mar.,  iii.  243.) 

"  Al  'Auja  is  the  name  of  a  river  running  between  Arsuf  and 


Ar  Ramlah  (and  is  the  same  as  the  Nahr  Abi  Futrus)."  (Yak., 
iii.  744.) 

"The  Nahr  Abi  Futrus,"  says  Abu-1  Fida,  "is  the  river  that 
runs  near  Ar  Ramlah  in  Filastin.  In  Muhallabi's  work  called 
the  'Azizl,  it  is  said  to  be  the  same  as  the  Nahr  al  'Auja  (the 
Crooked).  It  runs  about  twelve  miles  north  of  Ar  Ramlah.  They 
say  that  when  two  armies  meet  on  its  banks,  it  is  always  the 
western  host  that  wins,  while  the  eastern  is  put  to  the  rout.  Thus 
the  Khalif  al  Mu'tadid  fled  (884  A.D.)  from  the  Khumaruwaih  ibn 
Ahmad  ibn  Tulun  ;  and  the  Fatimite  Khalif  of  Egypt  Al  'Aziz 
conquered  and  took  prisoner  Haftakin  the  Turk  (975  A.D.),  the 
latter  being  with  his  army  on  the  eastern  bank.  The  source  of 
the  river  is  under  Jabal  al  Khalil,  opposite  the  ruined  castle  of 
Majdaliyabah.  Its  course  is  from  east  to  west,  and  it  falls  into 
the  Greek  Sea  to  the  south  of  the  lowlands  of  Arsuf.  From 
its  source  to  its  mouth  it  is  less  than  a  day's  journey  in  length." 
(A.  F.,  48.) 

Nahr  Laitah  (the  Litany  River),  miscalled  the  Leontes,  is 
at  the  present  day  known  as  Al  Kasimiyyah.  It  is  mentioned  by 
Idrist  in  the  twelfth  century. 

"  The  Nahr  Laitah  falls  into  the  sea  between  Sur  (Tyre)  and 
Sarafand.  It  rises  in  the  mountains,  and  comes  down  here  to  the 
sea."  (Id.,  12.) 

"  Nahr  Laita,"  says  Dimashki,  "  has  its  source  in  the  lands  of 
Karak  Nun  (Noah's  Stronghold).  There,  many  springs  and 
streams  come  together,  and  the  river  flows  along  the  base  of  the 
Jabal  Lubnan  (Lebanon),  passing  Jabal  Mashghara,  and  into  the 
same  there  flow  many  springs.  Thence  it  passes  Al  Jarmak,  and 
afterwards  Ash  Shakif,  a  great  and  strong  castle.  Below  this  it 
becomes  a  large  river,  and  falls  into  the  Mediterranean  not  far 
from  Tyre."  (Dim.,  107.) 

Nahr  al  Kalb  (the  Dog  River),  the  ancient  Lycus,  is  men- 
tioned by  Yakut,  who  states  that  "  it  flows  between  Bairut  and 
Sidon,  and  is  of  the  Frontier  Strongholds,  called  Al  'Awasim." 
(Yak.,  iv.  298,  843  ;  Mar.,  ii.  250,  508.) 

This  is,  however,  a  mistake,  as  the  Dog  River  flows  into  the  sea 
north  of  Bairut. 


Nahr  Ibrahim. — "  A  river  of  the  Syrian  coast,  with  but  a  short 
course.  Its  waters  come  down  from  the  Lebanon  mountains  and 
Kasruwan,  and  running  down  to  the  coast,  fall  into  the  Mediter- 
ranean." (Dim.,  107.) 

Nahr  al  Abtar  ("  the  Curtailed  ").— "  A  river,"  writes  Dimashki, 
"  which  flows  into  the  sea  between  Bulunyas  and  Jabalah.  It  is  so 
called  on  account  of  its  short  course,  and  because  its  waters  are  not 
used  (for  irrigation),  and  that,  despite  their  abundance  and  rapidity, 
there  are  no  canals  taken  from  this  river.  On  an  island  in  it  are 
the  remains  of  a  fortress  called  Buldah.  It  was  one  of  the 
strongest  of  places,  but  was  dismantled  by  its  garrison,  and  this  by 
reason  of  their  quarrelling  each  with  the  other,  which  led  to  their 
dispersion.  This  island  is  one  of  the  most  beautiful  places  to  be 
seen  in  this  country  ;  one  half  of  it  is  washed  by  the  sea,  and  the 
part,  that  is  toward  the  mainland  is  surrounded  by  the  waters  of 
the  river.  Thus  half  is  on  salt  water,  half  on  fresh,  but  to  the 
sight  they  both  appear  but  one  water,  which  surrounds  the  island 
on  all  sides."  (Dim.,  209.) 

The  Sabbatical  River. — The  source  of  this  stream  was  visited 
by  Nasir-i-Khusrau  in  1047.  He  writes  : 

"  We  went  by  the  coast  road  from  Hama  southwards,  and  in 
the  mountains  saw  a  spring  which,  they  say,  flows  with  water  but 
once  a  year,  when  the  middle-day  of  the  (lunar)  month  of  Sha'aban 
is  past.  It  continues  running  for  three  days,  after  which  it  gives 
out  not  a  single  drop  of  water  more,  until  the  next  year.  A  great 
many  people  visit  this  place  in  pilgrimage,  seeking  propitiation 
whereby  to  approach  God — may  He  be  praised  and  glorified  !— 
and  they  have  constructed  here  a  building  and  a  water-tank." 
(N.  Kh.,  5.) 

This  account  doubtless  refers  to  the  source  of  the  Sabbatical 
River  of  antiquity,  visited  by  Titus  (Josephus,  Wars,  vii.,  5,  §  i). 
It  is  at  the  present  day  called  Fawwarah  ad  Dair,  "  The  Foun- 
tain of  the  Convent,"  that  is,  of  Mar  Jirjis  (St.  George),  the  build- 
ing spoken  of  by  Nasir.  Josephus  asserts  that  the  spring  ceases 
to  flow  on  Saturdays.  The  Muslims  of  the  present  day  say 

Nahr  Bar  add. — Barada,  the  ancient  Abana,  is  the  chief  river 


of  Damascus.  Some  description  of  the  network  of  streams 
which  water  the  plain  of  Damascus  will  be  given  in  Chapter  VI. 

"  Rivers  occur  in  some  numbers,"  writes  Mukaddasi,  "  through- 
out the  province  of  Syria,  and  they  flow  for  the  most  part  into  the 
Mediterranean  Sea — all  except  the  Barada,  which,  dividing  below 
the  city  of  Damascus,  waters  the  district.  In  its  upper  course,  an 
arm  branching  from  the  main  stream  encircles  the  northern  part 
of  the  city,  and  divides  below  into  two  branches,  one  of  which 
runs  towards  the  desert  and  forms  there  a  lake,  while  the  other 
descends  till  it  joins  the  Jordan."  (Muk.,  184.) 

"The  Barada.  also  called  Baradaya,"  according  to  Yakut,  "is 
the  chief  river  of  Damascus.  There  is  another  river,  also,  called 
Banas,  but  the  Barada  is  the  main  stream.  It  takes  its  rise  in  a 
valley  near  a  village  called  Kanwa  of  the  district  of  Az  Zabadani, 
five  leagues  from  Damascus  and  near  Ba'albakk.  From  the  springs 
there,  it  flows  down  to  Fijah,  which  is  a  village  two  leagues  from 
Damascus.  Here  another  spring  joins  it,  and  their  united  waters 
flow  on  to  a  village  called  Jumraya.  When  the  stream  of  the 
Barada  approaches  Damascus,  many  canals  are  led  off  it,  for  they 
have  built  weirs  which  turn  the  water  aside ;  to  the  north  are  two 
canals  under  Jabal  Kasiyun,  the  upper  called  Nahr  Yazid,  and  the 
lower  Thaura.  The  former  was  dug  by  the  Khalif  Yazid  ibn 
Mu'awiyah."  (Yak.,  iv.  846;  Mar.,  iii.  253.) 

"The  latter  name  is  often  incorrectly  spelt  Thaurah."  (Yak., 
i.  938;  Mar.,  i.  131.) 

"  The  Nahr  Yazid,  going  off  at  the  village  of  Jumraya,  takes  a 
moiety  of  the  waters  and  flows  under  the  foot  of  Jabal  Kasiyun. 
The  Thaura  bifurcates  at  the  village  of  Dummar,  and  below  this 
again,  to  the  south,  there  are  led  away  the  waters  of  the  Banas. 
After  this  the  main  stream  of  the  Barada  flows  on  towards  the 
city,  and  there  is  taken  from  it  the  canal  called  Nahr  al  Kanawat, 
which  is  but  a  small  stream.  On  reaching  the  city,  the  Nahr  al 
Kanawat  divides  into  numerous  water-channels  (Kanawat}  towards 
the  south,  and  flows  through  all  the  houses  of  the  town.  A  great 
canal,  that  already  mentioned,  the  Banas,  flows  through  the  Castle 
and  the  neighbouring  houses  in  Damascus,  and  after  dividing  into 
various  water-channels,  proceeds  through  the  Ghautah,  irrigating  all 


the  fields  beyond  the  gates  called  Bab  as  Saghir,  and  Bab  ash 
Sharki.  The  main  stream  of  the  Barada,  after  passing  through 
the  city,  flows  also  through  the  Ghautah,  and  loses  itself  in  the 
lake  to  the  east.  Coming  down  from  the  north,  the  waters  of  the 
Thaura  likewise  fall  into  this  lake,  as  also  the  Nahr  al  Yazid,  which 
waters  all  the  gardens  on  the  north  of  Damascus."  (Yak.,  i.  556  ; 
Mar.,  i.  141.) 

The  Orontes.  —  This  river  was  called  by  the  Greeks  "A£/OS 
•Tora/xoc,  from  the  old  Syrian  name  of  "  Atzoio,"  meaning  "  The 
Rapid."  The  Arabs  corrupted  this  name  into  A I  'A  si,  or  "The 
Rebel  River,"  calling  it  also  Al  Maklub,  "  The  Overturned,"  be- 
cause it  flowed  in  a  contrary  direction  to  most  other  rivers,  that  is, 
from  the  south  to  the  north.  The  Crusaders,  with  their  usual 
haphazard  method  of  identification,  considered  the  Orontes  to 
represent  the  Biblical  Pharphar,  and  refer  to  it  in  their  Chronicles 
under  that  name. 

"  Antakiyyah,"  says  Idrisi,  "lies  on  the  river  Al  Maklub, 
which  is  called  also  Al  Urunt  (Orontes).  This  river  rises  in  the 
territory  of  Damascus,  at  a  place  near  where  the  desert  road  bifur- 
cates. From  thence  the  stream  flows  down  and  passes  Hims  ; 
then  traverses  the  two  cities  of  Hainan  and  Shaizar  and  reaches 
Antioch,  where  it  flows  round  the  northern  side  of  the  city,  and, 
turning  south,  falls  into  the  sea  to  the  south  of  As  Suwaidiyyah." 

(id.,  23.) 

According  to  Yakut,  when  the  Orontes  leaves  the  Lake  of 
Kadas,  it  is  known  as  Al  Mimas,  or  Al  Maimas  ;  at  Hamah  and 
Hims,  it  is  called  Al  'Asi,  and  near  Antakiyyah  it  goes  by  the 
name  of  Al  Urunt  or  Al  Urund.  (Yak.,  i.  233,  iii.  588  ;  Mar.,  i. 
51,  ii.  226.) 

"The  river  of  Hamah,"  says  Abu-1  Fida,  "is  also  called 
Al  Urunt,  or  the  Nahr  al  Maklub  (The  Overturned),  on  account 
of  its  course  from  south  to  north ;  or,  again,  it  is  called  Al  'Asi 
(The  Rebel),  for  the  reason  that  though  most  rivers  water  the 
lands  on  their  borders  without  the  aid  of  the  water-wheels,  called 
Duldb  and  Na'urah — that  is,  merely  by  the  flowing  of  the  water — 
the  river  of  Hamah  will  not  irrigate  the  lands  except  by  the  aid  of 
these  machines  for  raising  its  waters.  The  river  runs  in  its  entire 


length  from  south  to  north.  At  its  origin  it  is  a  small  stream, 
rising  near  a  domain,  about  a  day's  journey  to  the  north  of  Ba'al- 
bakk,  at  a  place  called  Ar  Ras.  It  runs  north  from  Ar  Ras  till  it 
reaches  a  place  called  Kami  (Station  of)  al  Hirmil,  lying  between 
Jusiyah  and  Ar  Ras.  Here,  where  it  passes  through  a  valley,  is 
the  main  source  of  the  river  at  a  place  called  Magharat  ar  Rahib 
('The  Monk's  Cave');  thence  flowing  northwards  and  passing 
Jusiyah,  it  falls  into  the  Lake  of  Kadas  to  the  west  of  Hims. 
From  this  lake  the  river  flows  out,  passing  Hims  and  on  by  Ar 
Rastan  to  Hamah,  thence  by  Shaizar  to  the  Lake  of  Afamiyyah. 
From  the  Lake  of  Afamiyyah  it  goes  by  Darkush  to  the  Iron  Bridge 
(Aljisr  al  Hadid}.  Bounding  the  river  to  the  east  hitherto,  there 
has  been  the  Jabal  Lukkam,  but  when  it  reaches  the  Iron  Bridge 
the  mountains  sink,  and  the  river  turns  here  and  goes  south  and 
westward,  passing  by  the  walls  of  Antakiyyah,  after  which  it  falls 
into  the  Greek  Sea  at  As  Suwaidiyyah. 

"There  flow  into  the  Orontes  a  number  of  streams,  ist.  A 
river  which  rises  under  the  city  of  Afamiyyah,  and,  flowing  west- 
wards, falls  into  the  Lake  of  Afamiyyah,  where  its  waters  join 
those  of  the  Orontes. 

"  2nd.  A  river  rising  about  two  miles  to  the  north  of  Afamiyyah, 
called  An  Nahr  al  Kabir  ('The  Great  River').  It  runs  a  short 
distance,  and  then  falls  likewise  into  the  Lake  of  Afamiyyah ;  the 
waters  of  these  two  leave  the  lake  as  the  Orontes. 

"3rd.  An  Nahr  al  Aswad,  or  (in  Turkish)  Kara  Sou  ('The 
Black  River '),  which  flows  from  the  north,  and  passes  under  Dar- 

"  4th.  Nahr  Yaghra.  This  rises  near  the  town  of  Yaghra,  and, 
after  passing  the  same,  falls  into  the  Black  River  mentioned  above, 
and  they  together  flow  into  the  Lake  of  Antakiyyah. 

"  5th.  Nahr  Ifrin,  which  comes  from  the  country  of  the  Greeks, 
and  flows  by  Ar  Rawandan  to  the  district  of  Al  Jumah.  After 
passing  Al  Jumah,  it  flows  on  to  the  district  called  Al  'Umk 
('  The  Bottom  '),  and  there  joins  the  Black  River ;  these  three, 
namely,  the  Black  River,  the  Nahr  Yaghra,  and  the  Nahr  Ifrin, 
become  a  single  stream  and  fall  into  the  Buhairah  (or  Lake  of) 
Antakiyyah,  flowing  out  from  which  their  waters  become  the  '  Asi  (or 


Orontes)  which  comes  down  from  Hamah  above  Antakiyyah  and 
to  the  east*  of  the  city."  (A.  F.,  49.) 

"The  Nahr  'Asi,"  says  Dimashki,  "which  between  Hamah  and 
Ar  Rastan  is  called  the  Nahr  Urunt,  has  its  source  at  the  villages 
called  Al  Libwah  and  Ar  Ras,  near  Ba'albakk,  and  thence  flows 
down  to  Hims.  A  great  spring  of  water  cornes  down  and  joins  it, 
called  'Ain  al  Hirmil,  above  which  is  an  Observatory  of  the  ancient 
Sabseans,  which  resembles  the  two  Observatories  to  be  seen  at 
Hims,  called  Al  Maghzalani.  The  'Asi  flows  on  from  here  past 
the  walls  of  Hisn  al  Akrad,  and  its  waters  are  quite  clear,  even  like 
tears,  till  they  enter  the  Lake  of  Hims  ;  but  on  leaving  this  they 
are  troubled,  like  the  waters  of  the  Nile,  and  do  not  become  clear 
again  till  the  river  reaches  the  district  called  Ard  ar  Ruj. 
Ultimately  the  river  flows  down  past  As  Suwaidiyyah  and  out  into 
the  sea."  (Dim.,  107,  207,  259.) 

Nahr  Kuwaik. — The  ancient  Chalus,  and  the  river  of  Aleppo. 
"It  rises,"  says  Idrisi,  "at  a  village  called  Sinab,  sixteen  miles 
from  Dabik.  Thence  to  Halab  is  eighteen  miles,  after  which  it 
passes  to  Kinnasrin  in  twenty  miles,  and  on  to  Marj  al  Ahmar 
('  the  Red  Meadow  '),  and  below  this  is  swallowed  up  after  a  twelve 
miles'  course  in  the  marshes.  From  its  source  to  its  disappear- 
ance in  the  marshes  it  is  42  mrles  in  length."  (Id.  25.) 

Yakut  gives  much  the  same  information,  only  that  he  writes 
the  name  of  the  village,  where  the  Kuwaik  rises,  Sabtat  or  Sabtar, 
adding  that  some  place  the  source  at  Sabadir,  six  miles  from 
Dabik.  He  states  the  total  length  of  the  Kuwaik  to  be  48  miles. 
"  The  waters  are  sweet,  but  in  the  summer-time  it  almost  dries  up. 
After  the  winter  rains,  however,  it  becomes  a  fine  stream,  and  the 
poets  of  Aleppo  compare  it  to  Al  Kauthar,  the  river  of  Paradise/ 
(Yak.,  iv.  206  ;  Mar.,  ii.  462.) 

"The  Kawaik  River,  opposite  Jabal  Jaushan,  near  Halab,  is 
called  Al  'Aujan."  (Yak.,  iii.  744;  Mar.,  ii.  288.) 

Dimashki  describes  the  Kuwaik  in  much  the  same  terms.  He 
says  :  "  The  libertines  of  Halab  surname  the  river  Abu-1  Hasan, 
'Father  of  the  Beautiful.'  It  ultimately  flows  through  the  Marj  al 
Ahmar  into  the  :  wamp  called  Buhairah  al  Matkh  (the  Lake  of 
Mud)."  (Dim.,  202  ) 

*  The  MSS.  read  "  west,"  in  error. 


Nahr  al  Azrak  ("the  Blue  River").—"  This,"  says  Yakut,  "  is 
a  river  of  the  Thughur  (Frontier  Fortresses)  between  Bahasna  and 
Hisn  Mansur,  towards  Halab."  (Yak.,  iv.  834  ;  Mar.,  iii.  243.) 

Nahr  al  Aswad("  the  Black  River  "). — "  A  river  flowing  near  the 
Nahr  al  Azrak,  and  in  the  territories  of  Al  Massissah  and  Tarsus." 
(Yak.,  iv.  834  ;  Mar.,  iii.  243  ;  see  above,  p.  60.) 

Nahr  'Ifrin. — "  The  name  of  a  river  in  the  territories  of  Al 
Massissah,  which  runs  in  the  Halab  territory."  (Yak.,  iii.  689  ; 
Mar.,  ii.  264  ;  see  above,  p.  60.) 

Nahr  adh  Dhahab  ("the  River  of  Gold").— "The  people  of 
Aleppo  call  the  Wadi  Butnan,  which  passes  Buza'ah,  by  this  name. 
This  valley  is  one  of  the  wonders  of  the  world  for  beauty.  The 
river  flows  down  into  a  large  swamp  some  two  leagues  long  and 
broad,  where  its  waters  dry  up,  and  leave  salt.  This  swamp 
they  call  Al  Jabbul,  and  the  salt  gathered  here  is  exported  to 
all  parts  of  Syria."  (Yak.,  iv.  839  ;  Mar.,  iii.  246.) 

Nahr  Hurith. — "A  river  flowing  out  from  the  lake  called 
Buhairah  al  Hadath,  near  Mar'ash,  and  falling  into  the  river 
Jaihan."  (Yak.,  iv.  838;  Mar.,  iii.  246.) 

Nahr  Jaihan  (the  Pyramus). — "The  Jaihan  is  a  river  which 
rises  in  the  country  of  the  Greeks.  After  passing  down  through 
the  city  of  Al  Massissah,  it  runs  by  certain  villages  known  by  the 
name  of  Al  Mallun,*  and  then  falls  into  the  sea.  It  has  on  its 
banks  many  hamlets  with  numerous  water-courses."  (Is.,  63 ; 
I.H.,  122.) 

"The  Nahr  Jaihan,"  says  Abu-1  Fida,  "is  a  river  almost  of 
the  size  of  the  Euphrates.  It  passes  through  the  land  of  Sis 
(Cilicia,  or  Little  Armenia),  and  the  vulgar  name  it  Jahan.  It 
flows  from  north  to  south  between  mountains  in  the  Greek  terri- 
tories, till  it  passes  to  the  north  of  Al  Massissah,  and  then  turning, 
goes  from  the  east  westward,  and  falls  into  the  Greek  Sea  not  far 
from  the  above-named  city."  (A.F.,  50.) 

"  The  beginning  of  its  course,"  says  Dimashki,  "  is  near 
Zabatrah.  It  runs  under  a  huge  rock.  At  its  source  is  a  church, 
like  the  church  on  the  Saihan,  and  its  length  is  nearly  equal  to 
that  of  the  Saihan."  (Dim.,  107  ;  also  Yak.,  ii.  170,  and 
Mar.,  i.  267,  who  add  nothing  to  the  above.) 

*  The  ancient  Mallus,  called  in  the  Middle  Ages  Malo. 


Nahr  Saihan  (the  Sarus).— "  The  river  Saihan  is  of  less  size  than 
the  Jaihan.  There  is  across  it  a  most  wonderful  stone  bridge  of 
extraordinary  length.  This  river,  too,  rises  in  the  land  of  the 
Greeks."  (Is.,  64  ;  I.H.,  122  ;  copied  by  A.F.,  249.) 

"The  Saihan,"  writes  Mas'udi,  "according  to  tradition,  is  one 
of  the  rivers  whose  source  is  in  Paradise.  It  is  the  river  of 
Adanah,  one  of  the  Syrian  Fortresses,  and  it  flows  into  the  Medi- 
terranean. It  rises  three  days'  journey  beyond  Malatyah,  and 
Adanah  is  the  only  town  on  it  belonging  to  the  Muslims.  It  flows 
between  Tarsus  and  Al  Massissah.  Its  sister  river,  the  Jaihan, 
has  its  sources  at  the  'Uyun  Jaihan,  three  miles  from  the  town  of 
Mar'ash,  and  flows  likewise  into  the  Mediterranean.  The  only 
Muslim  cities  on  its  banks  are  Al  Massissah  and  Kafarbayya." 
(Mas.,  ii.  359.) 

"  The  Nahr  Saihan,"  says  Dimashki,  "  has  the  commencement 
of  its  course  in  the  country  of  Malatyah,  at  a  place  where  there  is 
a  fortress.  There  is  here  a  church  in  which  is  a  picture  of  Paradise 
and  its  inhabitants.  The  river  runs  down  from  thence,  and  its 
course  to  where  it  flows  into  the  Mediterranean  is  730  (?)  miles 
in  length."  (Dim.,  107.) 

Abu-1  Fida  describes  the  Saihan  in  much  the  same  terms,  and 
xidds  :  "  It  passes  through  the  country  of  the  Armenians — called 
in  our  day  Bilad  Sis — flowing  beside  the  walls  of  Adanah,  and  to 
the  west  of  the  same  After  passing  Adanah — which  lies  less  than 
SL  day's  march  from  Al  Massissah— the  Saihan  joins  the  Jaihan 
below  Al  Massissah,  and  the  two  become  one  stream,  which 
debouches  into  the  Greek  Sea  between  Ayas  and  Tarsus." 
(A.F,  50.) 

The  Saihan  and  Jaihan  do  not,  at  the  present  day,  join  their 
waters,  but  flow  into  the  Mediterranean  by  separate  mouths.  The 
names  of  Jaihan  and  Saihan  were  given  to  these  frontier  rivers  by 
the  early  Muslims,  on  the  analogy  of  the  Jaihan,  and  Sihun,  the 
Oxus  and  Jaxartes,  the  frontier  rivers  of  Central  Asia. 

Nahr  al  Baradan  (the  Cydnus).— " This,"  says  Mas'udi  "is 
-the  river  of  Tarsus,  which  flows  into  the  sea  on  the  coasts  of 
Tarsus."  (Mas.,  i.  264.)  Ibnal  Fakih  says  this  river  is  also  called 
AlGhadban.  (I.F.,  116.) 


"Al  Baradan,"  says  Yakut,  "is  a  river  of  the  Thughur  (or 
Frontier  Fortresses).  It  rises  in  the  Greek  country,  and  flows  into 
the  sea  six  miles  from  Tarsus.  It  waters  the  gardens  of  Mar'ash, 
after  rising  at  the  foot  of  a  mountain  near  there  called  Al  'Akra7 
(the  Bald)."  (Yak.,  i.  553  ;  Mar.,  i.  140.) 


The  Dead  Sea. — The  Dead  Sea,  at  the  present  day,  is  generally 
known  as  the  Bahr  Lut,  or  "  Lake  of  Lot."  In  earlier  days  it  is 
spoken  of  as  Al  Bnhairah  al  Miyyatah,  the  "  Dead  Lake,"  Al 
Buhairah  al  Muntinah,  the  "  Stinking  Lake,"  or  Al  Makhlb,  the 
"  Overwhelmed,"  from  the  cities  of  Lot  that  were  overwhelmed  in 
its  depths.  It  is  also  referred  to  under  the  name  of  the  Sea  of 
Zughar  or  Sughar,  from  the  celebrated  town  of  that  name  on 
its  banks.  It  is  to  be  noted  that  nowhere  in  the  Bible  is  this 
lake  called  the  Dead  Sea,  this  denomination  first  occurring  in 
Justin  (xxxvi.  3,  §  6),  who  speaks  of  the  "  Mare  mortuum ;"  Pau- 
sanias  also  writes  (v.  7,  §  4)  of  &aXaaaa  y  vt*.f<d. 

"The  Dead  Sea,  Al  Buhairah  al  Miyyatah,"  says  Ya'kubi,  "lies 
in  the  district  of  Bait  Jibrin.  It  is  from  hence  that  the  asphalt 
(Hiiwrah)  comes,  which  is  also  called  Mumiya."  (Yb.,  117.) 

"The  Dead  Sea,"  according  to  Istakhri  and  Ibn  Haukal,  "lies 
in  the  fore  (or  southern)  part  of  Syria,  near  Zughar,  and  in  the 
Ghaur.  It  is  called  the  Dead  Sea  because  there  is  in  it  no  living 
creature  nor  fish.  The  waters  throw  up  a  substance  called  hummar 
(asphalt),  which  is  used  by  the  people  of  Zughar  for  the  fertilization 
of  their  vines.  The  vines  are  so  treated  all  over  Palestine  ;  after 
the  same  manner  the  palm  also  is  fertilized,  by  applying  the 
male  spathe ;  and  so,  too,  the  people  of  Al  Maghrib  (the  West) 
fertilize  their  fig-trees  with  the  flower  of  the  male  plant.  According 
to  Istakhri,  the  Dead  Sea  is  called  Al  Buhairah  al  Muntinah  (the 
Stinking  Lake)."  (Is.,  64 ;  I.  H.,  123  ;  copied  by  A.  F.,  228.) 

The  account  of  the  fertilization  of  the  vines  with  the  bitumen  is, 
of  course,  a  vulgar  error.  The  natives  anoint  the  vine  plants  with 
bitumen  to  keep  off  the  worms  and  grubs,  as  is  mentioned  below 
in  Nasir's  account.  The  artificial  fertilization  of  the  palm  and 
other  fruit-bearing  trees,  is  a  subject  very  fully  discussed  by  the 
Arab  writers  on  horticulture. 


Mukaddasi  writes  :  "  The  I^ike  of  Sughar  (the  Dead  Sea)  is  a 
marvellous  place,  for  the  river  Jordan  and  the  river  of  the  Sharah 
both  pour  into  it,  and  yet  they  change  the  level  not  at  all.  It  is 
said  that  a  man  does  not  sink  easily  in  its  waters,  and  that  (during 
storms)  waves  do  not  rise  on  its  surface.  With  its  waters,  if  a 
clyster  be  administered,  the  same  is  a  cure  for  many  disorders. 
They  have  a  feast-day  for  the  purpose  of  thus  taking  the  waters, 
and  it  occurs  in  the  middle  of  the  month  of  Ab  (August),  when 
the  people  with  those  who  are  afflicted  with  sickness  assemble 
thereto."  (Muk.,  186.) 

"  Now  the  river  Jordan,  descending  through  the  valleys  of  the 
Ghaur,  falls  into  the  Overwhelming  Lake  (which  is  the  Dead  Sea). 
This  lake  is  completely  salt,  wild,  all-swallowing,  and  stinking. 
The  mountains  tower  above  it,  but  its  waves  never  rise  in  the 
storm."  (Muk.,  184.) 

The  Persian  traveller,  Nasir-i-Khusrau,  writing  in  1047,  speaks 
in  the  following  terms  of  the  Dead  Sea  : 

"  South  of  Tiberias  lies  the  Buhairah  Lut  (the  Lake  of  Lot). 
The  waters  of  this  lake  are  salt,  although  the  (fresh)  waters  of  the 
Lake  of  Tiberias  flow  down  into  it.  The  cities  of  Lot  were  along 
its  borders,  but  no  trace  of  them  remains.  A  certain  person 
related  to  me  that  in  the  salt  waters  of  this  lake  there  is  a  sub- 
stance which  gathers  itself  together  from  the  foam  of  the  lake,  and 
is  black,  with  the  likeness  in  form  to  a  bull's  (carcase  floating). 
This  stuff  (which  is  asphalt)  resembles  stone,  but  is  not  so  hard. 
The  people  of  the  country  gather  it  and  break  it  in  pieces,  sending 
it  to  all  the  cities  and  countries  round.  When  the  lower  part  of 
a  tree  is  covered  with  some  of  this  (asphalt),  no  worm  will  ever  do 
the  tree  a  harm.  In  all  these  parts  they  preserve  the  roots  of  the 
trees  by  this  means,  and  thus  guard  against  the  damage  to  the 
gardens  that  would  arise  from  worms  and  things  that  creep  below 
the  soil.  The  truth,  however,  of  all  this  rests  on  the  credibility  of 
the  word  of  him  who  related  it  to  me,  for  I  have  not  seen  it. 
They  say,  too,  that  the  druggists  also  will  buy  this  substance,  for 
they  hold  that  a  worm,  which  they  call  the  Nuktah,  attacks  their 
drugs,  and  that  this  asphalt  preserves  therefrom."  (N.  Kh.,  17,  18.) 

It  is  worthy  of  note  that  as  regards  the  appearance  of  the  asphalt 



floating  on  the  waters  of  the  Dead  Sea,  Josephus  uses  much  the 
same  expressions.     He  writes  (B.  J.,  iv.  8,  §  4) : 

"  The  lake  also  emits  in  various  places  black  masses  of  bitumen, 
which  float  on  the  surface,  somewhat  resembling  headless  bulls  in 
appearance  and  size." 

As  regards  the  stinking  properties  of  the  waters,  Lieut.  Lynch, 
while  encamped  at  Engedi,  noticed  "  a  strong  smell  of  sulphuretted 
hydrogen,"  also  "  a  fetid  sulphureous  odour  in  the  night."  He, 
however,  adds  elsewhere  :  "  Although  the  water  was  greasy,  acrid, 
and  disagreeable,  it  was  perfectly  inodorous."  The  malodour 
doubtless  arises  from  the  gases  given  out  at  the  springs  which 
lie  along  the  shore. 

"  Buhairah  Zughar,"  writes  Idrisi,  "  is  also  called  Buhairah 
Sadiim  and  Ghamur,  and  these  last  were  two  of  the  cities  of  Lut, 
which  Allah  overwhelmed,  so  that  the  place  of  them  became  the 
Stinking  Lake.  It  is  also  known  as  the  Dead  Sea,  because  there 
is  nothing  in  it  that  has  the  breath  of  life,  neither  fish  nor  beast, 
nor  any  other  creature,  of  the  kinds  found  in  other  stagnant  and 
moving  waters.  The  waters  (of  the  Dead  Sea)  are  warm,  and  of 
a  disagreeable  odour.  There  ply  on  the  lake  small  ships  which 
make  the  voyage  of  these  parts,  and  carry  over  corn  and  various 
sorts  of  dates  from  Zughar  and  Ad  Darah  to  Ariha  (Jericho),  and 
the  other  provinces  of  the  Ghaur.  The  Dead  Sea  measures  60 
miles  in  length  by  12  miles  in  the  breadth."  (Id.,  3.) 

"  The  foul  odour  of  the  lake,"  says  Yakut,  "  is  extremely  noxious, 
and  in  certain  years  the  miasma  is  blown  across  the  land,  and 
causes  destruction  to  all  living  creatures,  human  and  others.  By 
this  all  the  neighbouring  villages  are  depopulated  for  a  time  ;  then 
other  people  come  there  who  do  not  have  a  care  for  their  lives, 
and  these  settle  in  the  lands  once  more.  It  is  an  accursed  lake, 
for  nothing  grows  there.  When  anything  falls  into  its  waters  it 
becomes  useless.  Thus  fire-wood  is  spoilt,  and  such  drift-wood 
as  is  thrown  up  on  the  shore  will  not  kindle.  Ibn  al  Fakih  says 
that  anyone  who  falls  into  its  waters  cannot  sink,  but  remains 
floating  about  till  he  dies."  (Yak.,  i.  516  ;  iii.  822  ;  Mar.,  i.  132.) 
Dimashki  writes  :  "  The  people  have  many  opinions  concerning 
the  disappearance  of  the  waters  (of  the  Dead  Sea).  Some  say  that 
its  waters  have  an  exit  into  a  country  afar  off,  whose  lands  they 


irrigate  and  fertilize,  and  here  the  waters  may  be  drunk.  This 
country,  they  report,  lies  at  a  distance  of  two  months'  journey. 
Others  say  that  the  soil  all  round  the  lake  being  extremely  hot, 
and  having  beds  of  flaming  sulphur  beneath,  there  never  cease  to 
rise  vapours,  and  these,  causing  the  water  to  evaporate,  keep  it  to  a 
certain  level.  Others,  again,  say  there  is  an  exit  through  the  earth 
whereby  its  waters  join  those  of  the  Red  Sea ;  and  others  again 
affirm  it  has  no  bottom,  but  that  there  is  a  passage  leading  down 
to  the  Behemoth  (who  supports  the  earth).  But  Allah  knows  best 
the  truth  of  all  this  !  It  is  from  this  lake  that  they  get  the  asphalt. 
No  living  creature  inhabits  it,  and  no  plant  grows  on  its  border." 
(Dim.,  108.) 

Buhairah  Tabariyyah  (the  Lake  of  Tiberias). — In  Mukaddasi's 
days,  as  will  be  mentioned  below  (Chapter  VIII. ,  Tabariyyah\ 
the  lake  was  covered  with  boats  carrying  the  trade  and  products 
of  the  villages  along  its  shores. 

"The  Lake  of  Tabariyyah,"  writes  Yakut,  "is  about  12  miles 
long  by  6  broad.  It  is  like  an  immense  pool,  surrounded  by  the 
mountains.  Many  streams  pour  into  it,  and  the  city  of  Tabariyyah 
stands  on  its  (western)  shore.  It  lies  about  50  miles  distant  from 
Jerusalem.  The  Greater  (or  Upper)  Jordan  flows  into  it,  as  also 
the  streams  coming  down  from  the  Nabulus  district.  Out  of  the 
lake  flows  a  great  stream,  called  the  Lesser  (or  Lower)  Jordan, 
which,  after  watering  the  Ghaur,  pours  into  the  Stinking  Sea  by 
Jericho.  In  the  middle  of  the  Lake  of  Tiberias  is  a  projecting 
rock,  which  they  say  is  the  tomb  of  Solomon,  the  son  of  David. 
Now,  the  sinking  together  of  the  waters  of  the  Lake  of  Tiberias 
will  be  a  sign  of  the  coming  of  the  Antichrist,  called  Ad  Dajjal. 
It  is  related  further  that,  when  its  waters  have  disappeared,  one  of 
the  people  of  Yajuj  and-Majuj  (Gog  and  Magog)  will  say,  'Verily, 
there  is  water  there  beyond,'  and  then  they  will  all  march  on 
towards  Jerusalem.  Afterwards  Jesus  will  appear,  standing  on 
the  Rock,  called  As  Sakhrah,  being  surrounded  by  all  true 
believers,  and  to  them  He  will  preach.  Then  a  man  of  the 
Jurhum  tribe — or  of  Ghassan,  as  some  say — will  go  out  against 
the  people  of  Yajuj  and  Majuj,  and  they  will  be  routed  and 
utterly  dispersed."  (Yak.,  i.  515  ;  Mar.,  i.  131.) 



"Buhairah  Tabariyyah,"  says  Abu-1  Fida  in  1321,  "lies  at  the 
upper  end  of  the  Ghaur.  Into  it  flows  the  Jordan,  called  Nahr 
ash  Shari'ah,  coming  down  from  the  Buhairah  Baniyas.  The  lake 
is  called  after  Tabariyyah,  which  is  a  town  now  in  ruins,  on  the 
south-western  shore  thereof.  The  circumference  of  the  lake  is 
two  days'  march,  and  its  surface  is  quite  bare  of  reeds." 
(A.  F.,  39.) 

Buhairah  Kadas,  or  Buhairah  Baniyas. — The  Hulab  Lake, 
called  in  the  Bible  the  Waters  of  Merom,  is  referred  to  in  the 
early  Arab  geographers  either  as  the  Lake  of  Kadas,  from  Kadas 
(Kadesh  Naphthali),  on  the  height  west  of  it ;  or  as  the  Lake  of 
Baniyas  (Paneas,  Caesarea  Philippi),  the  city  lying  some  distance 
to  the  north. 

Mukaddasi,  in  985,  speaks  of  it  as  "  a  small  lake,  lying  about 
an  hour  distant  from  Kadas,  the  waters  of  which  flow  into  the 
Lake  of  Tiberias.  In  order  to  form  the  lake,  they  have  built  a 
wonderful  embankment  of  masonry  along  the  river,  confining  the 
water  to  its  bed.  Along  the  shore  are  thickets  of  the  Haifa-reed, 
which  gives  the  people  their  livelihood,  for  they  weave  mats  and 
twist  ropes  therefrom.  In  this  lake  are  numerous  kinds  of  fish, 
especially  that  called  the  Bunni,  which  was  brought  here  from 
Wasit  (in  Mesopotamia),  that  town  of  numerous  clients." 
(Muk.,  161.) 

It  is  to  be  noted  that  the  Haifa-reed  here  mentioned  is,  with- 
out doubt,  the  Papyrus  Antiquorum,  called,  by  the  Fallahin  of 
the  present  day,  Babur.  (Cf.  Canon  Tristram  Fauna  and  Flora 
of  Palestine,  P.  E.  F.,  p.  438.)  Lane,  however,  in  his  Dictionary 
(s.  v.  Haifa],  states  that  the  botanical  name  of  this  reed  is  Poa 
Multiflora,  or  P.  Cynosuroides. 

The  "  Bunni,"  according  to  Berggren  (Guide  Arabe  Vulgaire], 
is  at  the  present  day  the  name  for  the  carp,  which  fish,  he  says, 
abounds  in  the  Sea  of  Galilee  and  in  the  Euphrates.  Sir  R. 
Burton,  however,  in  a  note  to  vol.  viii.,  p.  187,  of  his  translation 
of  the  Thousand  and  One  Nights,  says  the  "  Bunni  "  is  the 
Cyprinus  Binni  (Forsk),  a  fish  somewhat  larger  than  a  barbel, 
with  lustrous,  silvery  scales  and  delicate  flesh. 

"  Buhairah  Baniyas,"  says  Abu-1  Fida,  "  lies  near  the  town  of 


Baniyas,  which  is  in  the  Damascus  Province.  It  is  a  lake,  sur- 
rounded by  lowlands,  and  covered  with  reeds.  Into  it  flow  a 
number  of  streams  from  the  mountains  round.  The  river  Jordan, 
called  Ash  Shari'ah,  flows  out  of  it,  and  falls  into  the  I^ake  of 
Tabariyyah."  (A.  F.,  40.) 

Buhairah  al  Marj. — The  Damascus  Lakes  are  called  by  Yakut 
Buhairah  al  Marj,  "  the  Meadow  Lakes."  "  They  lie  to  the  east  of 
Damascus,  and  five  leagues  distant,  across  the  Ghautah,  near  the 
plain  called  Marj  Rahit.  The  overflow  of  the  Damascus  rivers  (the 
Baradaand  others)  goes  into  them."  (Yak.,  i.  516  ;  Mar.,  i.  132.) 

Buhairah  al  BikCi. — The  lake  in  the  plain  of  Ccelo  Syria  is 
called  Buhairah  al  Bika  by  Abu-1  Fida.  "  It  is  a  sheet  of  stagnant 
water,  full  of  thickets  and  reeds,  lying,  at  the  distance  of  a  day's 
journey,  to  the  west  of  Ba'albakk."  (A.  F.,  40.) 

It  is  to  be  noted  that  this  lake  does  not  now  exist,  its  waters 
having  been  drained  off.  On  the  margin  of  the  Paris  MS.  of 
Abu-1  Fida  is  the  following  curious  note  : 

"  The  Lake  of  the  Bika  was  a  lowland,  covered  with  reeds  and 
osiers,  which  they  used  for  making  mats.  It  lay  in  the  middle  of 
the  Bika'  Plain  of  Ba'albakk,  between  Karak  Nuh  and  'Ain  al 
Jarr.  The  Amir  Saif  ad  Din  Dunkuz  bought  it  for  himself  from 
the  public  treasury,  and  cleared  the  land  of  water  by  digging  a 
number  of  channels,  which  drew  off  its  waters  into  the  Litany 
River.  He  then  established  here  over  twenty  villages.  Their 
crops  were  more  rich  than  can  be  estimated  or  described,  of  such 
products  as  melons  and  cucumbers.  The  people  gained  great 
sums,  and  a  rich  livelihood.  They  planted  here  trees  to  produce 
timber,  and  built  mills.  The  person  who  had  urged  Dunkuz  to 
do  all  this  was  'Ala  ad  -  Din  ibn  Salj,  a  native  of  those  parts. 
When  Al  Malik  an  Nasir  (Sultan  of  Egypt)  laid  hands  on  Dunkuz, 
he  took  most  of  these  villages  from  him,  and  gave  them  in  fief  to 
the  Syrian  Amirs,  and  but  little  remained  to  Dunkuz  or  his  heirs." 

This  Dunkuz  was  Governor  of  Syria  from  A.D.  1320  to  1339- 
(See  Abu-1  Fida's  Chronicle,  under  the  year  740  A.H.) 

Buhairah  Kadas,  or  Buhairah  Hints. — The  Lake  of  Hims  is 
also  called  Buhairah  Kadas,  after  the  Northern  Kadesh.  "  It  lies," 
says  Yakut,  "  south-west  of,  but  near,  Hims,  and  towards  the  Jabal 


Lubnan  (Lebanon  mountains).  It  is  12  miles  long  and  4  miles 
broad.  The  streams  of  the  surrounding  hills  pour  down  into  it, 
and  their  waters  go  to  swell  the  river  }Asi  (Orontes),  which  flows 
out  of  it.  On  this  river  lie  Hamah  and  Shaizar."  (Yak.,  i.  516  ; 
Mar.,  i.  132.) 

"  Buhairah  Kadas,"  says  Abu-1  Fida,  "  is  also  called  the  Lake 
of  Hims.  Its  length  from  north  to  south  is  about  a  third  of  a 
march,  and  its  breadth  is  the  length  of  the  dyke,  which  we  shall 
now  describe.  This  dyke  has  been  thrown  across  the  river 
Orontes,  and  forms  the  northern  border  of  the  lake.  It  is  built 
of  stone,  of  the  construction  of  ancient  times,  being  attributed  to 
Alexander  the  Great.  In  the  middle  of  the  dyke,  and  on  it,  are 
two  towers  of  black  stone.  The  length  of  the  dyke,  from  east  to 
west,  is  1,287  ells,  and  its  breadth  is  i8|  ells.  The  dyke  hems  in 
this  great  mass  of  water,  and  were  it  to  go  to  ruin,  the  waters 
would  rush  out,  and  the  lake  would  become  a  river,  and  no  longer 
exist.  This  lake  lies  in  a  plain-country,  about  a  day's  journey  to 
the  west  of  Hims.  They  catch  much  fish  there."  (A.  F.,  40.) 

Buhairah  al  Afamiyyah  (the  lakes  of  Apamea). — "  These," 
writes  Abu-1  Fida, 'in  1321,  "consist  of  a  number  of  lagoons 
(BatihaJi)  divided  one  from  another  by  beds  of  rushes,  with  low- 
lands covered  by  reeds.  The  largest  of  these  lagoons  forms  two 
lakes — one  to  the  south,  the  other  to  the  north.  The  waters 
thereof  are  derived  from  the  river  Orontes,  which  flows  into 
the  swamp  on  the  south  side,  forming  the  lagoons.  The  river 
afterwards  flows  out  again  from  the  northern  border  of  the  swamps 
and  lowlands.  It  is  the  southern  of  these  two  lakes  which  is 
more  properly  called  the  Lake  of  Afamiyyah.  Its  width  is  of 
about  half  a  league,  its  depth  is  less  than  the  height  of  a  man,  but 
its  bottom  is  so  miry  that  a  man  cannot  stand  up  in  it.  On 
all  sides  and  all  over  its  surface  are  reeds  and  willows,  and  in  the 
middle  there  is  a  thicket  of  reeds  and  papyrus  (baradiy),  which 
prevents  the  eye  from  seeing  the  whole  of  it  at  once,  for  a  great 
part  of  it  is  masked  thereby.  On  these  lagoons  there  live  all  kinds 
of  birds,  such  as  swans  ( TimmaJi  ?)  and  the  species  called  Al 
Ghurairah  (?)  and  Sangh,  and  pelicans  (Al  BajcCah}  and  cranes 
(Al  Iwazz\  Also  birds  that  feed  on  fish,  such  as  the  species 


called  Aljalth  (?)  and  Al  Abyaddniydt  (or  white-feathered  fowls), 
and  other  such  aquatic  birds.  In  no  other  lagoons  of  which  I 
have  knowledge  are  there  so  many  kinds  of  birds  as  here.  In 
spring-time  these  lagoons  are  so  crowded  with  yellow  water-lilies 
(Nllufar)  that  the  whole  surface  is  hidden  thereby,  and  the  water 
is  as  though,  covered  by  a  veil  from  end  to  end,  formed  of  their 
leaves  and  flowers.  The  boats  thread  their  way  through  them. 

"The  second  great  lagoon,  which  is  to  the  north  of  the  first,  is 
separated  from  it  by  the  marshy  land  covered  with  reeds,  through 
which  runs  a  waterway,  whereby  boats  go  from  the  southern  to 
the  northern  lagoon.  This  northern  lagoon  forms  part  of  the 
district  of  Hisn  Barziyah.  It  is  known  as  the  Lake  of  the 
Christians  (Buhairah  anNasard) ;  for  there  are  Christian  fishermen 
who  live  here  in  huts  built  on  piles,  in  the  northern  part  of  the 
lagoon.  This  lake  is  four  times  larger  than  the  Afamiyyah  Lake. 
In  the  middle  of  the  Lake  of  the  Christians  the  dry  land  appears. 
Water-lilies  grow  all  along  its  northern  and  southern  banks  ;  and 
there  are  here  also  water-birds  like  what  has  been  described  above. 
There  is  here  the  eel  called  Al  Ankalis.  These  lagoons  lie  to 
the  west,  bearing  somewhat  to  the  north  of  the  town  of  Afamiyyah, 
and  at  no  great  distance  therefrom."  (A.  F.,  40.) 

Buhairah  Antdkiyyah  (the  Lake  of  Antioch).* — "This  lake," 
says  Yakut,  "lies  at  a  distance  of  three  days'  journey  from 
Antioch.  It  is  of  sweet  water,  and  in  length  about  20  miles, 
while  its  breadth  is  7  miles.  The  lake  lies  in  the  territory  known 
as  Al  'Amk,  'the  lowland.'"  (Yak.,  i.  514;  Mar.,  i.  131.) 

"  Buhairah  Antakiyyah,"  says  Abu-1  Fida,  "lies  between 
Antakiyyah,  Baghras  and  Harim,  and  occupies  the  plain  country 
called  Al  'Amk.  It  belongs  to  the  district  of  Halab  (Aleppo), 
and  is  situated  about  twelve  days'  journey  to  the  west  thereof. 
Into  this  lake  flow  three  rivers  coming  from  the  north.  The 
easternmost  of  these  is  called  the  Nahr  'Ifrin  ;  the  westernmost, 
which  runs  under  Darbassak,  is  called  An  Nahr  al  Aswad,  'the 
Black  River ;'  and  the  third,  which  flows  between  the  first  two,  is 
called  the  Nahr  Yaghra.  Yaghra  is  the  name  of  a  village  on  its 
banks,  the  population  of  which  is  Christian.  The  circumference 
*  Known  at  the  present  day  as  Ak  Deniz. 


of  the  lake  is  about  a  day's  journey.  It  is  covered  with  reeds,  and 
there  are  fish  and  birds  here  the  like  to  which  we  have  mentioned 
in  describing  the  Lake  of  Afamiyyah.  The  three  rivers  aforesaid 
— namely,  the  Nahr  al  Aswad,  the  Yaghra,  and  the  'Ifrin- — come 
together  *  to  form  a  single  stream  before  they  fall  into  the  lake  on 
its  northern  shore.  And  from  the  southern  end  a  river  flows  out 
which  joins  the  Orontes  below  the  Jisr  al  Hadid  (the  Iron  Bridge), 
which  lies  about  a  mile  above  Antakiyyah.  The  lake  lies  to  the 
north  of  Antakiyyah."  (A.  F.,  41.) 

Buhairah  al  Yaghra. — A  lake  mentioned  by  Yakut,  probably 
one  of  the  small  lakes  found  to  the  north-east  of  the  Lake  of 
Antioch.t  "It  lies,"  says  Yakut,  "between  Antioch  and  the 
Thughur  (or  Frontier  Fortresses),  and  collects  into  it  the  waters 
of  the  river  'Asi  (the  Orontes),  of  the  Nahr  'Ifrin  and  the  Nahr 
al  Aswad.  These  two  last  come  down  from  the  neighbourhood 
of  Mar'ash.  It  is  called  also  Buhairah  as  Sallur — which  last 
is  the  Eel,  called  also  Al  Jirri — by  reason  of  the  number  of  these 
fishes  found  in  its  water."  (Yak.,  i.  516  ;  Mar.,  i.  132.) 

Buhairah  al  Hadath. — "This,"  says  Yakut,  "is  a  lake  near 
Mar'ash,  lying  towards  the  Greek  country.  Its  beginning  is  near 
the  village  of  Ibn  Ash  Shi'i,  12  miles  from  Al  Hadath  in  the 
direction  of  Malatyah.  The  lake  extends  thence  to  Al  Hadath, 
which  is  a  strongly  fortified  castle  of  those  parts."  (Yak.,  i.  514; 
Mar.,  i.  131.) 


At  Tfir.—  "Tur,"  says  Abu-1  Fida,  "in  the  Hebrew  language 
means  '  mountain '  in  general,  but  the  name  has  passed  to  designate 
certain  mountains  in  particular.  Thus  Tur  Zaita  (the  Mount  of 
Olives)  is  the  hill  near  Jerusalem,  where,  according  to  tradition, 
70,000  prophets  died  of  hunger.  Tur  is  also  the  special  name  of 
the  mountain  above  Tiberias  (Mount  Tabor).  The  position  of 

*  This  is  no  longer  the  case,  according  to  the  present  maps.  The  Nahr  al 
Aswad,  called  at  the  present  day  in  Turkish,  Kara  Sou,  meaning  likewise 
"Black  River,"  flows  into  the  Lake  of  Ak  Deniz  on  the  north,  while  the 
'Ifrin,  or  'Afrin,  flows  in  by  a  separate  mouth  from  the  east.  See  above, 
pp.  60  and  62. 

t  Presumably  not  identical  with  the  "  Lake  of  Antioch,"  the  description  of 
which  is  given  in  the  Arabic  text  two  pages  previously. 


Tur  Sina  (Mount  Sinai)  is  the  subject  of  discussion.  Some  say  it 
is  the  mountain  near  Ailah,  and  others  that  it  is  a  mountain  in 
Syria  ;  and  they  say  that  it  is  called  Sind  on  account  of  its  stones,  or 
else  on  account  of  the  trees  that  grow  there.*  Tur  Harun  (Mount 
Hor)  is  the  name  of  a  high  mountain  which  rises  int  he  country 
south  of  Jerusalem.  The  tomb  of  Aaron  is  on  its  summit. " 
(A.  F,  69.) 

Tur  Sma  (Mount  Sinai).— "  Tur  Sina,"  writes  Mukaddasi, 
"  lies  not  far  from  the  Bahr  al  Kulzum  (the  Red  Sea).  One  goes 
up  to  it  from  a  certain  village  called  Al  Amn,f  which  same  is  the 
place  where  Moses  and  the  children  of  Israel  encamped.  There 
are  here  twelve  springs  of  fairly  sweet  water,  and  thence  up  to 
Sinai  is  two  days'  march.  The  Christians  have  a  monastery 
(Dair)  in  Mount  Sinai,  and  round  it  are  some  well  cultivated 
fields,  and  there  grow  here  olive-trees,  said  to  be  those  mentioned 
by  Allah  in  the  Kuran  (chap,  xxiv.,  ver.  35),  where  it  is  written 
concerning  that  *  blessed  tree,  an  olive  neither  of  the  east  nor  of 
the  west.'  And  the  olives  from  these  trees  are  sent  as  presents  to 
kings."  (Muk.,  179.) 

"  Jabal  at  Tur,"  says  Idrisi,  "is  reached  from  Faran  (Paran). 
It  lies  close  to  the  (Red)  Sea,  and  the  mountain-chain  stretches 
parallel  thereto,  and  between  it  and  the  sea  is  a  road  that  is  much 
traversed.  It  is  a  high  mountain  into  which  you  go  up  by  steps, 
and  at  its  summit  is  a  mosque  where  there  is  a  well  of  stagnant 
water,  from  which  those  who  come  and  go  may  drink."  (Id.,  2.) 

"  At  Tur,  or  Tur  Sina,"  says  Yakut,  "  is  a  mountain  near 
Madyan  (Midian),  where  God  spake  with  Moses  the  second  time, 
after  he  had  come  out  of  Egypt  with  the  Children  of  Israel.  The 
name  'Tur  Sina'  is  of  the  language  of  the  Nabatheans.  It  is  a 
mountain  covered  with  plants  and  trees,  and  is  an  extension  of 
the  range  above  Ailah."  (Yak.,  iii.  557  ;  Mar.,  ii.  214.) 

TAr  Harun  (Mount  Hor). — "A  high  and  sacred  mountain," 

*  Stanley,  Sinai  and  Palestine,  p.  17  (ed.  of  1877),  states  that  "  the  most 
probable  origin  even  of  the  ancient  '  Sinai '  is  the  Seneh  or  acacia,  with 
which,  as  we  know,  it  then  abounded  "—that  is,  in  Biblical  times. 

f  Possibly  an  Arab  corruption  of  the  name  of  Elim,  where  the  Israelites 
encamped  before  coming  "  into  the  wilderness  of  Sin,  which  is  between  Elim 
and  Sinai,"  Exod.  xv.  27. 


says  Yakut,  "lying  to  the  south  of  Jerusalem.  Harun  (Aaron) 
went  up  into  it  with  his  brother  Musa  (Moses),  but  did  not  return. 
Then  the  children  of  Israel  accused  Moses  of  having  slain  him, 
but  he  showed  them  a  bier  on  a  plateau  in  the  mountain-top,  with 
the  body  of  Harun  upon  it.  The  place  was  called  after  him."* 
(Yak.,  iii.  559;  Mar.,  ii.  215.) 

The  historian  Mas'udi,  as  early  as  943  A.D.,  writes:  "Aaron 
died  and  was  buried  in  Jabal  Maab  (Moab)  among  the  mountains 
of  the  Sharah  district,  that  lie  in  the  direction  of  Sinai.  His 
tomb  is  celebrated.  It  stands  in  an  'Adite  (antique)  cavern,  in 
which  on  certain  nights  is  heard  a  mighty  sound,  terrifying  to  all 
living  creatures.  Others  say  Aaron  was  not  buried  underground, 
but  was  merely  laid  in  this  cavern.  There  are  many  strange 
accounts  given  by  those  who  have  visited  this  place,  and  who 
describe  it."  (Mas.,  i.  94.) 

Tur  Zaita,  or  Jabal  Zaita  (the  Mount  of  Olives). — "  A  holy 
mountain,"  says  Yakut,  "  overhanging  Jerusalem  and  to  the  east. 
The  Wadi  Jahannum  divides  it  from  the  city.  In  this  wadi  is  the 
'Ain  Sulwan  (Siloam),  and  across  the  wadi  the  Bridge  as  Sirat 
shall  be  stretched.  On  the  mount  Omar  prayed.  The  tombs  of 
70,000  prophets  who  died  here  are  to  be  seen  in  this  mount,  and 
from  it  Jesus  ascended  into  heaven."  (Yak.,  iii.  558  ;  Mar ,  ii.  215.) 

Jabal  ash  Sharah. — "  This  district  lies  to  the  south  of  the  Balka. 
Behind  it  is  the  desert,  which  is  now  inhabited  by  the  settled 
Fellahin."  (A.  F.,  228.) 

Jabal  al  Khamr. — "  These  mountains,"  writes  Yakut,  "are  men- 
tioned in  the  Traditions  of  the  Prophet,  and  are  said  to  be  the 
mountains  of  Jerusalem,  so-called  from  the  quantity  of  wine 
(khamr)  that  is  grown  here."  (Yak.,  ii.  21  ;  Mar.,  i.  238.) 

At  Tur  (Ebal  and  Gerizint}.— "  This,"  says  Yakut,  "is  the 
holy  mountain  above  Nabulus,  to  which  the  Samaritans  go  in 
pilgrimage.  The  Jews  hold  it  also  in  high  respect,  for  they  say 
Abraham  was  here  commanded  to  sacrifice  Isaac.  The  name  is 
mentioned  in  the  Pentateuch."  (Yak.,  iii.  557  ;  Mar.,  ii.  214.) 

Jabal  at  Tur  (Tabor}. — This  name  is  mentioned  incidentally 

*  This  legend  is  given  in  full  in  G.  Weil's  Biblischc  Legenden  der  Musel- 
inanner,  p.  185.  It  is  derived  from  the  Midrash. 


by  Ibn  Jubair  in  1185  as  that  of  the  mount  situated  not  far  from 
Tiberias  ;  he,  however,  did  not  visit  it.  (I.  J.,  313  ) 

"  At  Tur  Tabor,"  says  Yakut,  '*  is  a  mountain  above  Tabariy- 
yah  in  the  Jordan  Province.  It  lies  four  leagues  from  Tabariyyah. 
On  its  summit  is  a  spacious  and  strongly  built  church.  A  fair  is 
held  there  every  year.  Al  Malik  al  Mu'atham  'Isa,  the  son  of 
(Saladin's  brother)  Al  Malik  al  'Adil  Abu  Bakr,  built  there  a  strong 
castle,  and  kept  his  treasures  in  this  place.  But  when  in  615 
(1218)  the  Franks  came  from  beyond  the  sea  to  try  and  retake 
Jerusalem,  he  ordered  this  castle  to  be  dismantled,  and  so  it 
remains  now."  (Yak.,  iii.  557  ;  Mar.,  ii.  215.) 

At  Tur  (Tabor)  Ali  of  Herat  confounds  with  Sinai,  for  he  says 
Moses  received  the  law  in  this  mountain,  "  which  is  near  Tiberias." 
(A.  H.,  Oxf.  MS.,  f.  31.) 

Jabal  'Amilah.—  The  Jabal  'Amilah  in  Upper  Galilee  is  the  one 
referred  to  in  the  following  notices.  A  second  mountainous 
region,  also  called  Jabal  'Amilah,  but  lying  north  of  Damascus,  is 
that  of  which  Yakut  (A.D.  1225)  speaks  under  the  heading  of 
Kafar  Latha  (see  below,  Part  II.). 

"Jabal  'Amilah,"  says  Mukaddasi  in  985,  "is  a  mountainous 
district  where  are  many  fine  villages,  and  here  are  grown  grapes 
and  other  fruits,  and  olives.  There  are  also  many  springs.  The 
rain  waters  its  fields.  The  district  overhangs  the  sea,  and  adjoins 
the  Lebanon  mountains."  (Muk.,  162.) 

This  district  is  called  after  the  tribe  of  the  Bani  'Amilah,  who 
were  settled  here  in  the  early  days  of  the  Muslim  conquest.  The 
district  corresponds  roughly  with  Upper  Galilee.  During  the 
period  of  the  Crusades  the  tribe  migrated  north,  and  the  region 
between  Damascus  and  Hims  then  took  the  name  of  Jabal 
'Amilah,  as  is  mentioned  by  Yakut,  and  further  described  in  the 
following  account : 

"  In  the  Safad  Province,"  says  Dimashki  in  1 300,  "  is  the 
district  of  the  Jabal  'Amilah,  full  of  vineyards,  olives,  carob, 
and  terebinth  trees.  Its  population  are  of  the  Rafidite  and 
Imamite  sects.  Also  in  this  province  is  Jabal  Jaba'*  with  a 

*  The  name  is  identical  with  the  Biblical  Gibeah,  meaning  "  humped," 
a  common  name  for  hills.  See  Stanley,  Sinai  and  Palestine,  Appendix,  §  25. 


like  population.  It  is  a  high  mountain  tract  full  of  springs,  arid 
vineyards,  and  fruits.  Near  it  is  Jabal  Jazin,  with  springs  and 
fruit-lands  in  plenty;  also  Jabal  Tibnin,  which  has  a  castle 
and  districts,  and  lands  round  it.  This  district  is  also  inhabited 
by  Rafidites  and  Imamites.  Jabal  Baki'ah  is  named  after  the 
village  called  Al  Baki'ah,  where  are  running  waters  and  excellent 
quinces.  In  this  district  are  also  many  other  villages  with  olive- 
grounds  in  plenty,  and  fruits  and  vineyards.  Jabal  az  Zabud 
overhangs  Safad.  Az  Zabud  is  a  village,  and  there  are  many  other 
villages  in  the  country  round.  The  people  of  these  villages  are  of 
the  Druze,  Hakimite,  and  Amrite  sects."  (Dim.,  211.) 

"  The  Jabal  'Amilah,"  writes  Abu-1  Fida,  "  runs  down  east  of 
the  coast  as  far  south  as  Tyre.  The  fortress  of  Ash  Shakif 
(Arnon)  is  here,  which  Baibars  took  from  the  Franks,  under  whom 
its  people  formerly  lived."  (A.F.,  228.) 

Jaba/'Auf. — "  This,"  says  Abu-1  Fida  in  1321,  "  is  the  district 
lying  south-east  of  Jabal  'Amilah.  The  populations  of  both  were 
rebellious  until  Usamah  (one  of  Saladin's  Amirs)  built  the  fortress 
of  'Ajlun  to  curb  and  bring  them  into  subjection.  This  last  is  a 
very  strong  fortress,  dominating  the  Ghaur  (of  the  Jordan).  All 
its  territory  is  very  fertile,  and  it  is  covered  with  trees,  and  well- 
watered  by  streams."  (A^F.,  228.  See  also  under 'Ajlun. ) 

Jabal  SiddikCi. — "These  mountains,"  writes  Mukaddasi  in  985, 
"lie  between  Tyre,  Kadas,  and  Sidon.  Here  may  be  seen  the 
tomb  of  Siddika.  On  the  middle  day  of  the  (lunar)  month  of 
Sha'ban,  it  is  the  custom  for  great  numbers  of  the  people  of  the 
towns  round  here  to  make  a  pilgrimage  to  this  tomb,  and  the 
Lieutenant  of  the  Sultan  also  is  present.  It  so  happened  that  once 
when  I  was  sojourning  in  this  part  of  the  country,  upon  the  Friday 
in  the  middle  of  Sha'ban,  the  Kadi  Abu'l  Kasim  ibn  Al  'Abbas 
called  upon  me  to  preach  before  the  congregation.  In  my  sermon 
I  urged  them  to  the  restoration  of  this  mosque,  and  with  success, 
for  afterwards  this  was  accomplished,  a  pulpit  being  also  erected 
therein.  I  have  heard  it  related  that  when  a  dog  in  pursuit  of 
any  wild  animal  comes  to  the  boundaries  of  this  sanctuary,  he 
there  and  then  stops  short ;  and  there  are  other  stories  told  of  a 
like  kind."  (Muk.,  188.) 


Jabal  al  Jaulan  (the  Hills  of  the  Jaulan).— "  These,"  says 
Mukaddasi,  "  lie  on  the  opposite  hand  to  the  Lebanon  mountains 
(across  the  Jordan),  over  towards  Damascus.  Here  it  was  that  I 
met  Abu  Ishak  al  Balluti  (him  of  the  oak-tree),  who  was  accom- 
panied by  forty  men,  his  disciples,  all  of  them  dressed  in  woollen 
garments  (after  the  manner  of  the  ascetics).  These  people  have  a 
mosque,  in  which  they  assemble  for  prayer.  I  found  Abu  Ishak 
to  be  a  very  learned  and  pious  jurisconsult  of  the  sect  of  Sufyan 
ath  ThCiri.  These  people  feed  themselves  with  acorns — the  fruit 
being  of  the  size  of  the  date,  but  bitter.  They  split  it  in  half,  and 
make  it  sweeter  by  allowing  it  to  soak  in  water.  It  is  then  dried 
and  ground  in  a  mill.  In  this  country  (of  Jaulan)  also  grows 
desert-barley,  which  the  people  mix  with  the  acorn-meal,  and 
therewith  make  their  bread."  (Muk.,  188.) 

Jabal  al  Jaltl. — "The  inhabitants  of  these  mountains,"  says 
Ya'kubi  in  891,  "are  Arabs  of  the  'Amilah  tribe."  (Yb.,  114.) 

"  The  Jabal  al  Jalil,"  says  Yakut,  "  lie  on  the  coast  of  Syria,  ex- 
tending up  towards  Hims.  The  dwelling-place  of  Nuh  (Noah) 
was  in  Jabal  al  Jalil,  near  Hims,  at  a  village  called  Sahr,  and  it  is 
said  the  Flood  began  to  pour  out  here.  The  Jabal  al  Jalil  extend 
to  near  Damascus  also,  and  Tsa  (Jesus)  preached  here,  promising 
that  this  district  should  never  suffer  famine."  (Yak.,  ii.  no; 
Mar.,  i.  263.) 

Jabal  Bani  Hilal.—"  These,"  writes  Yakut,  "  are  the  mountains 
of  the  Hauran  Province  of  Damascus.  There  are  in  this  district 
many  villages  ;  among  them  is  the  village  of  Al  Malikiyyah,  where 
is  shown  a  wooden  platter  said  to  have  belonged  to  the  Prophet." 
(Yak.,  ii.  22  ;  Mar.,  i.  239.) 

Jabal  Lubnan  (the  Lebanon  mountains).  — "  These,"  says 
Mukaddasi,  "  lie  contiguous  to  (and  to  the  north  of)  the  Jabal  Sid- 
dika,  running  all  along  and  parallel  to  the  coast,  from  Sidon  up  to 
Tripolis.  Their  slopes  are  covered  with  trees,  and  fruits  fit  for 
eating  abound.  Everywhere  among  the  Lebanon  mountains  occur 
little  springs  of  water,  where  people  who  come  here  to  pray  have 
made  for  themselves  houses  of  reeds  or  rushes.  They  live  on  the 
edible  fruits,  and  also  gain  money  by  cutting  what  is  known  as  the 
*  Persian  reeds,'  and  the  myrtles,  and  other  like  shrubs,  which  they 


carry  into  the  towns  for  sale.  But  they  do  not  obtain  much 
profit  thereby."  (Muk.,  160,  188.) 

"The  Lebanon  mountains,"  says  Ibn  al  Fakih,  "belong  to 
Damascus,  and  they  are  inhabited  by  hermits  and  anchorites. 
There  grow  here  all  kinds  of  fruits  and  vegetables,  and  every- 
where are  springs  of  fresh  water.  These  mountains  extend  as 
far  as  the  Greek  country.  The  apples  of  the  Lebanon  are  very 
wonderful,  in  that  when  they  first  come  from  the  Lebanon 
district  they  are  sweet  mountain  apples  without  any  flavour 
or  savour,  but  after  having  been  set  in  the  water  of  the  Nahr  al 
Balikh,  they  immediately  acquire  a  fine  flavour."  (I.  K,  112, 

"The  Lebanon  mountains,"  writes  Ibn  Jubair  in  1185,  "are  full 
of  the  castles  of  Ismailians  (Assassins).  This  range  is  the  bound- 
ary between  the  Muslims  and  the  Franks,  for  beyond  them  to  the 
north  lie  Antakiyyah  and  Al  Ladhikiyyah,  and  other  towns,  which 
are  in  the  hands  of  the  Christians.  May  Allah  return  these  into 
the  hands  of  the  Muslims  !"  (I.  J.,  257.) 

"The  mountains  of  the  Lebanon  overhang  Hims,"  says  Yakut. 
"This  range  has  its  origin  at  Al  'Arj,  between  Makkah  and  Al 
Madinah,  and  extends  thence  till  it  reaches  Syria.  That  part 
which  is  in  Filastin  is  called  Jabal  al  Hamal ;  in  the  Jordan  Pro- 
vince the  range  is  called  Jabal  al  Jalil ;  at  Damascus,  the  Sanir 
mountains  ;  near  Halab,  Hamah,  and  Hims,  it  is  the  Jabal  Lubnan. 
This  same  range  extends  to  Antakiyyah  and  Al  Massissah,  and 
there  it  is  called  Jabal  al  Lukkam.  Further  north  again  they  go 
by  Malatyah  Sumaisat  and  Kalikala,  even  as  far  as  the  Bahr  al 
Khazar  (the  Caspian),  and  there  they  are  called  Al  Kaik.  In  the 
Jabal  Lubnan  is  a  most  beautiful  district  belonging  to  Hims,  and 
here  are  grown  fruits  in  quantities,  and  arable  fields  are  seen  such 
as  are  found  nowhere  else.  They  say  that  in  the  Lebanon  district 
there  are  spoken  seventy  dialects,  and  no  one  people  understands 
the  language  of  the  other,  except  through  an  interpreter/'  (Yak., 
ii.  no,  iv.  347  ;  Mar.,  i.  263,  iii.  5.) 

"On  the  slopes  of  the  Lebanon  mountains,"  according  to 
Dimashki,  "  there  grow  more  than  ninety  kinds  of  plants  and  herbs 
that  spring  up  here  naturally  without  cultivation,  flowering  all  the 


year  round,  to  the  profit  of  those  who  gather  them.     Also  many 
fruit  and  other  trees."     (Dim.,  199.) 

"The  Lebanon  mountains,"  Ibn  Batutah  notes  in  his  Diary, 
"  are  some  of  the  greenest  in  the  world.  There  are  all  sorts  of  fruits 
grown  here,  and  springs  of  water  occur  frequently,  and  shade  is 
found  in  summer.  This  region  is  celebrated  for  the  anchorites 
and  holy  men  who  dwell  here."  (I.  B.,  i.  184.) 

Jabal  an  Nusairiyyah, — "  These,"  writes  Abu-1  Fida,  "  are  cele- 
brated mountains  lying  near  Halab.  The  Nusairiyyah  are  a  sect 
called  after  Nusair,  the  freedman  of  'Ali  ibn  Abu  Talib.*  They 
hold  that  'AH  stopped  the  sun  on  its  course,  as  did  Joshua,  the 
son  of  Nun  ;  and  that  a  crane  spoke  to  him,  as  did  one  to  Jesus. 
They  most  of  them  hold  'Ali  for  the  divinity."  (A.  F.,  232,  from 
Ibn  Sa'id.) 

Jabal Sanir. — "This,"  says  Yakut,  "is  the  name  for  the  mountains 
lying  between  Hims  and  Ba'albakk,  along  the  high  road.  On  their 
summit  is  the  Castle  of  Kala'ah  Sanir.  The  range  extends  west, 
and  east  to  Al  Kariyatain  and  Salamiyyah.  It  lies  east  of  Hamah. 
Jabal  al  Jalil  is  opposite  to  it,  lying  along  the  coast.  Between  the 
two  stretches  the  wide  plain  in  which  lie  Hims  and  Hamah,  and 
many  other  towns.  This  mountain  tract  of  Sanir  forms  a  Kurah 
(or  district),  and  its  capital  is  Huwwarin,  which  is  Kariyatain. 
The  range  is  co-terminous  with  the  Lebanon  on  the  right,  and 
stretches  thence  northwards,  even  as  far  as  the  Bilad  al  Khazar 
(the  region  of  the  Caspian).  On  the  left  (southwards  and  to  the 
east),  the  range  travels  on  and  extends  even  as  far  as  Al  Madinah. 
Jabal  Sanir  is  only  the  name  of  this  mountain  tract  between  Hims 
and  Ba'albakk,  and  is  thus  but  a  small  portion  of  this  long  range 
of  mountains."  (Yak.,  iii.  170;  Mar.,  ii.  61.) 

"Jabal  ath  Thalj  ('the  Mountain  of  Snow,'  Hermon),  Jabal 
Lubnan,  and  Jabal  Lukkam,  all  these  mountains,"  says  Abu-1  Fida, 
"  are  continuous,  and  run  one  into  the  other,  forming  but  a  single 
range  going  from  south  to  north.  The  southern  point  of  the  chain 
is  near  Safid.  Jabal  ath  Thalj  (Hermon)  runs  up  north  and  passes 

*  This  is  a  mistake.  They  take  their  name  from  Muhammad  ibn  Nusair,  who 
flourished  at  the  end  of  the  ninth  century  A.D.  See  Haarbrucker's  translation 
of  Shahrastani,  i.  216. 


Damascus.  To  the  north  of  this  the  mountain  takes  the  name  of 
Jabal  Sanir.  The  spur  of  the  chain  which  overhangs  Damascus 
is  called  Jabal  Kasiyun.  After  passing  Damascus  the  chain  goes 
west  of  Ba'albakk,  and  the  range  over  against  Ba'albakk  is  called 
the  Lebanon.  After  passing  Ba'albakk  it  has  to  the  east  of  it 
Tarabulus  of  Syria,  and  goes  now  by  the  name  of  Jabal  'Akkar, 
'Akkar  being  the  name  of  a  fortress  in  the  above-mentioned  moun- 
tains. The  chain  then  passes  on  north,  and  after  Tarabulus 
reaches  Hisn  al  Akrad  (the  Kurd's  Castle).  Here,  in  the  same 
parallel,  lies  Hims,  at  a  distance  of  a  day's  journey  to  the  west. 
Hence  the  range  continues  on  northward,  and  passes  the  line  of 
Hamah,  then  Shaizar,  then  Afamiyyah ;  and  the  range,  when  it 
comes  to  be  opposite  these  cities,  goes  by  the  name  of  Jabal  al 
Lukkam.  When  the  parallel  of  Afamiyyah  is  reached — the  Jabal 
al  Lukkam  lying  to  the  west  of  that  city — there  begins  another 
chain  opposite  the  Jabal  al  Lukkam,  and  running  parallel  with  it 
northwards,  Near  Afamiyyah  this  second  range  goes  by  the 
name  of  Jabal  Shahshabu,  being  called  after  a  village  of  the  name 
of  Shahshabu,  lying  on  the  southern  flank  of  the  mountains.  Jabal 
Shahshabu  runs  from  south  to  north,  passing  to  the  west  of  Al 
Ma'arrah,  Sarmin,  and  Halab ;  after  this  it  bears  to  the  west,  and 
joins  the  mountains  of  the  country  of  the  Greeks. 

"As  to  the  Jabal  al  Lukkam,  however,  this  continues  north- 
wards, and  there  is  between  it  and  the  Jabal  Shahshabu  a  broad 
valley  about  half  a  day's  march  across,  in  which  lie  the  lakes  of 
Afamiyyah.  The  Jabal  al  Lukkam  extends  on  northwards,  passing 
by  Sihyun,  Ash  Shughr  and  Bikas,  and  Al  Kusair,  till  it  reaches 
Antakiyyah.  Here  the  mountain  chain  is  cut  through,  and 
opposite,  beyond  the  valley,  rise  the  mountains  of  Armenia.  In 
(the  valley)  cutting  across  the  chain  runs  the  river  'Asi  (Orontes), 
which  falls  into  the  sea  at  As  Suwaidiyyah."  (A.  F.,  68.) 

Jabal  ad  Darziyyah  (the  Druze  Mountain). — "  A  continuation 
of  the  Lebanon  chain,"  says  Abu-1  Fida,  "in  the  direction  of  the 
valley,  called  Wadi  at  Tairn.  The  chain  goes  also  by  the  name  of 
the  Jabal  Kasruwan.  The  people  are  of  the  Ibahite  sect,  as  are 
also  the  people  of  the  Lebanon."  (A.  F.,  229,  quoting  Ibn  Sa'id.) 

Jabal  Sikkin. —  "This,"  says  Abu-1  Fida,  in  1321,  "isthemoun- 


tain  chain  where  the  Ismailians  have  their  chief  quarters  and  their 
fortresses,  such  as  Masjaf,  Al  Kahf,  and  Al  Khawabi.  These 
fortresses  lie  in  the  mountains  that  run  down  along  the  coast  over 
against  the  country  between  Hims  and  Hamah.  Masyaf  makes  a 
triangle  with  Hims  and  Hamah  ;  the  east  point  is  Hamah,  the 
north-west  is  Masyaf,  and  the  south-west  is  Hims,  they  being  each 
about  a  day's  journey  the  one  from  the  other."  (A.  F.,  229  ; 
from  Ibn  Sa'id.) 

Jabal  al  Khalt.—"  A  district,"  says  Abu-1  Fida,  "  lying  between 
Hims  and  the  sea.  There  are  here  a  great  number  of  the  Ibahite 
sect  (who  believe  everything  to  be  licit).  When  they  can  they  sell 
the  Muslims  as  slaves  to  the  Franks."  (A.  F.,  229.) 

Jabal  as  Summak. — "This,"  says  Yakut,  "is  a  great  mountain 
region  in  the  district  of  Western  Halab.  It  is  covered  with  towns, 
villages,  and  castles,  all  inhabited  by  people  of  the  Ismailian  sect. 
The  district  lies  for  the  most  part  in  the  government  of  Halab. 
Jabal  as  Summak  is  so  called  from  the  Summak  (Sumac)  tree, 
which  abounds  here.  Sesame,  cotton,  and  apricots  are  grown 
here,  and  there  is  running  water ;  also  gardens  in  plenty  and  all 
kinds  of  trees  and  fruits."  (Yak.,  ii.  21  ;  Mar.,  i.  238.) 

Jabal  al  Akrd  ("the  Bald  Mountain"). — "The  name  of  the 
mountains,"  says  Yakut,  "  in  Syria  that  are  seen  from  the  sea, 
overhanging  the  districts  round  Antakiyyah,  Al  Ladhikiyyah,  and 
Tarabulus.  The  range  is  of  unknown  height."  (Yak.,  i.  336  ; 
Mar.,  i.  195.) 

Jabal  Akra'  is  the  Mons  Casius  of  the  Romans,  south  of 
Antioch.  Ibn  Batutah  writes  that  it  is  "one  of  the  highest  moun- 
tains of  Syria.  You  see  it  first  of  all  others  coming  from  the  sea. 
The  Turkomans  dwell  on  its  slopes  (A.D.  1355),  and  there  are 
many  streams  and  springs  that  flow  down  from  it."  (I.  B.,  i.  183.) 

Jabal  Lukkam. — These  are  more  particularly  the  eastern  and 
northern  parts  of  what  was  anciently  known  as  Mount  Amanus. 
All  the  Syrian  mountains  north  of  the  Lebanon,  however,  are 
apparently  included  under  this  general  name.  (See  the  preceding 
page.)  The  Jabal  Lukkam  are  often  identical  with  the  Jabal 
Sikkin  of  the  later  Arab  geographers. 

"  Jabal  al  Lukkam,"  says  Mukaddasi,  "  is   the  most  populous 



mountain  region  of  Syria,  also  the  largest  in  area  and  the  most 
rich  in  fruit-trees.  At  the  present  day,  however  (A.D.  985),  all  this 
country  is  in  the  hands  of  the  Armenians.  Tarsus  lies  beyond 
these  mountains,  and  Antioch  is  on  our  side  of  them."  (Muk., 

Istakhri  and  Ibn  Haukal,  writing  in  the  earlier  part  of  the  tenth 
century,  give  the  following  account  of  this  range  :  "  The  Jabal  al 
Lukkam  divide  the  Syrian  from  the  Mesopotamian  Frontier  For- 
tresses, and  the  range  extends  north,  far  into  the  country  of  the 
Greeks — for  200  leagues  even,  as  it  is  said.  The  range  first 
appears  in  the  lands  of  Islam,  running  down  between  Mar'ash,  Al 
Haruniyyah,  and  'Ain  Zarbah.  The  chain  goes  by  the  name  of 
Jabal  al  Lukkam  as  far  south  as  Al  Ladhikiyyah.  Below  this  the 
mountains  have,  as  far  as  Hims,  the  name  of  Jabal  (the  mountain 
of  the  tribes  of)  Bahra  and  Tanukh.  South  of  Hims  the  range  is 
called  the  Lebanon  (Jabal  Lubnan),  and  to  the  south  again  they 
spread  out  all  over  Syria,  until  on  the  one  hand  they  end  on  the 
shore  of  the  Bahr  Kulzum  (the  Red  Sea),  and  on  the  other  reach 
the  Cairo  hills  called  Al  Mukattam."  (Is.,  56  ;  I.  H.,  108.) 

"  The  Jabal  al  Lukkam,"  says  Yakut,  "  are  the  mountains  over- 
hanging Antakiyyah,  Al  Massissah,  Tarsus,  and  the  other  cities  of 
the  Thughur  (or  Frontier  Fortresses).  The  range  extends  north 
into  the  country  to  the  Leo  kings  of  Armenia."  (Yak.,  iv.  364; 
Mar.,  iii.  17.) 


AD.  985-1052, 

According  tx>  tte 
Arab  Geograpliers 

5  100 

A       S  vS       AH        I    ~  R       A 

1  The    Plain    ) 

200          300          400   440  Yards 


A    S        S   A   H  JB 



Names  of  the  Holy  City— Advantages  of  Jerusalem— Fertility — Position- 
Territory  of  the  Holy  City. 

The  Mosque  al  AksA  :  The  Prophet's  Night  Journey— The  origin  of  the 
Mosque  al  Aksa — 'Omar's  early  building  and  that  of  'Abd  al  Malik — 
Earthquake  of  the  year  130  (746),  and  restoration  of  the  mosque  by  Al 
Mansur  and  Al  Mahdi — The  technical  meaning  of  the  term  Afasjiaf,  or 
Mosque — Mukaddasi's  description  of  the  Aksa  in  985 — The  Talisman  a-»d 
the  Maksiirahs — Earthquakes  of  1016  and  1034  — Inscriptions  relating  to 
repairs — Description  of  the  Aksa  by  Nasir  i-Khusrau  in  1047 — Dimensions 
of  the  mosque — The  Crusades — The  mosque  given  over  to  the  Templars 
— Description  by  Idrisi  and  Ali  of  Herat — Saladin's  reconquest  of 
Jerusalem  and  restoration  of  the  Aksa  in  1187— Description  by  Mujir  ad 
Din  in  1496— Modern  mosque. 

The  Dome  of  the  Rock :  The  Rock— The  dome  built  over  it  by  'Abd  a) 
Malik  in  691 — Mr.  Fergusson's  theory  disproved — 'Abd  al  Malik's  great 
inscription— Al  Mamun's  inscription  on  the  doors — Description  o?  the 
Dome  by  Ibn  al  Fakfh  in  903  —Arrangement  of  the  piers  and  pillars — 
Istakhri  and  Ibn  Haukal's  description — That  of  Mukaddasi,  985— The 
earthquake  of  1016  and  the  inscriptions  recording  repairs — Nasir-i-Khus- 
rau's  visit  in  1047 — The  fall  of  the  great  lantern  in  1060— The  Crusaders 
and  the  Templum  Domini — Temple-churches  and  Rafael's  picture  of  the 
Sposalizio — Idrisi's  account  in  1154 — 'Ali  of  Herat's  in  1173 — The  iron 
railing  round  the  Rock,  and  other  details — Pieces  of  the  Rock  taken  by 
the  Crusaders  as  relics — Saladin's  restoration — His  great  inscription  in  the 
Dome— Ibn  liatiitah's  visit  in  1355— Destruction  of  the  Cupola  by  fire  in 
1448 — Suyuti's  description  of  the  Footprint  of  the  Prophet,  the  Cave,  ami 
other  maive!s--Mujlr  ad  Din's  measurements. 

JERUSALEM  is  known  to  the  Muslims  by  the  names  of  Bait  fit 
Mukaddas  or  Bait  al  Makdis,  signifying  "  The  Holy  House  " ;  or 
else  simply  as  Al  Kuds,  "  The  Holy  " ;  the  latter  being  the  more 
common  name  at  the  present  day.  The  ancient  Hebrew  name, 
"  Yerushalaim,"  was,  however,  well  known  to  the  Arabs,  though  not 
used,  and  YakQt  mentions  the  forms  Urtshallum,  Urishalum^ 
also  Shallow^  as  the  various  names  of  the  Holy  City  in  the  days 
cf  the  Jews.  (Yak.,  i.  402  ;  Hi.  315  ;  iv.  590.) 



The    Emperor    Hadrian,    after   removing    all   the    Jews    from 
Jerusalem  (A.D.  130),  gave  the  town  the  name  of  .^Elia  Capitolina 
the  first  part  of  this  name  was  preserved  in  the  Arabic  as  Iliya, 
a  name  which,  having  no  signification  for  the  Arabs,  gave  rise  to 
numerous  legends.     Yakut  writes  : 

"  It  is  reported  on  the  authority  of  Ka'ab  that  the  Holy  City 
was  called  Iliya  because  Iliya  was  the  name  of  a  woman  who  built 
the  city."  (Yak.,  iv.  592.)  Further,  Iliya  is  said  to  mean  Bait 
Allah  (the  House  of  God).  And,  again,  Iliya  is  said  to  have  been 
so  called  "  after  the  name  of  its  builder,  who  was  Iliya,  son  of 
Aram,  son  of  Sam  (Shem),  son  of  Nun  (Noah),  and  he  was  the 
brother  of  Dimishk  (Damascus),  Hims  (Emessa),  Urdunn  (Jordan), 
and  Filastin  (Palestine)."  (Yak.,  i.  423,  424.) 

Jerusalem  also  was  occasionally  referred  to  in  poetry  as  Al 
Balat,  meaning  "the  court,"  or  u royal  residence,"  a  word  the 
Arabs  had  borrowed  from  the  Latin  palatium. 

Politically,  Jerusalem  was  never  the  Muslim  capital  of  the  pro- 
vince (Jund)  of  Palestine,  this  being  at  Ar  Ramlah.  But  the 
Holy  City,  containing  within  its  precincts  The  Further  Mosque, 
The  Rock,  and  other  Holy  Places,  was  only  held  second  in  point 
of  sanctity  to  the  twin  Holy  Cities  of  the  Hijjaz,  Makkah,  and  Al 
Madinah,  in  the  eyes  of  all  true  believers  ;  and  Jerusalem,  further, 
was  to  be  the  scene  of  the  great  gathering  on  the  Last  Judgment 
Day.  Even  in  the  days  of  its  splendour,  when  Ar  Ramlah  was 
the  capital  of  the  south  province,  as  Damascus  was  of  the  north, 
Istakhri  and  Ibn  Haukal  (tenth  century)  write  :  "  The  Holy  City 
is  nearly  as  large  as  Ar  Ramlah.  It  is  a  city  perched  high  on  the 
hills  :  and  you  have  to  go  up  to  it  from  all  sides.  In  all  Jerusalem 
there  is  no  running  water,  excepting  what  comes  from  springs,  that 
can  be  used  to  irrigate  the  fields,  and  yet  it  is  the  most  fertile 
portion  of  Filastin."  (Is.,  56;  I.H.,  in.) 

Mukaddasi  (A.D.  985),  as  his  name  implies,  himself  a  native  of 
the  Holy  City,  is  loud  in  praises  of  the  manifold  advantages  of 
Jerusalem.  He  writes  : 

"  The  Holy  City,  Bait-al-Makdis,  is  also  known  as  Iliya  and 
Al  Balat.  Among  provincial  towns  none  is  larger  than  Jerusalem, 
and  many  capitals  are,  in  fact,  smaller.  Neither  the  cold  nor  the 
heat  is  excessive  here,  and  snow  falls  but  rarely.  The  Kadi  Abu-] 


Kasim,  son  of  the  Kadi  of  the  two  Holy  Cities  of  Makkah  and  Al 
Madinah,  inquired  of  me  once  concerning  the  climate  of  Jerusalem. 
I  answered  :  *  It  is  betwixt  and  between — neither  very  hot  nor 
very  cold.'  Said  he  in  reply  :  *  Just  as  is  that  of  Paradise.'  The 
buildings  of  the  Holy  City  are  of  stone,  and  you  will  find  nowhere 
finer  or  more  solid  construction.  In  no  place  will  you  meet  with 
people  more  chaste.  Provisions  are  most  excellent  here  ;  the 
markets  are  clean,  the  Mosque  is  of  the  largest,  and  nowhere  are 
Holy  Places  more  numerous.  The  grapes  are  enormous,  and 
there  are  no  quinces  to  equal  those  of  the  Holy  City.  In  Jerusalem 
are  all  manner  of  learned  men  and  doctors,  and  for  this  reason  the 
heart  of  every  man  of  intelligence  yearns  towards  her.  All  the  year 
round,  never  are  her  streets  empty  of  strangers.  As  to  the  saying 
that  Jerusalem  is  the  most  illustrious  of  cities — is  she  not  the  one 
that  unites  the  advantages  of  This  World  and  those  of  the  Next? 
He  who  is  of  the  sons  of  This  World,  and  yet  is  ardent  in  the 
matters  of  the  Next,  may  find  there  a  market  for  his  wares ;  while 
he  who  would  be  of  the  men  of  the  Next  World,  though  his  soul 
clings  to  the  good  things  of  This,  he,  too,  may  find  them  here ! 
Further,  Jerusalem  is  the  pleasantest  of  places  in  the  matter  of 
climate,  for  the  cold  there  does  not  injure,  and  the  heat  is  not 
noxious.  And  as  to  her  being  the  finest  city,  why,  has  any  seen 
elsewhere  buildings  finer  or  cleaner,  or  a  Mosque  that  is  more 
beautiful  ?  And  as  for  the  Holy  City  being  the  most  productive 
of  all  places  in  good  things,  why,  Allah— may  He  be  exalted ! — 
has  gathered  together  here  all  the  fruits  of  the  lowlands,  and  of 
the  plains,  and  of  the  hill  country,  even  all  those  of  the  most 
opposite  kinds  :  such  as  the  orange  and  the  almond,  the  date  and 
the  nut,  the  fig  and  the  banana,  besides  milk  in  plenty,  and  honey 
and  sugar.  And  as  to  the  excellence  of  the  City  !  why,  is  not 
this  to  be  the  place  of  marshalling  on  the  Day  of  Judgment ; 
where  the  gathering  together  and  the  appointment  will  take  place  ? 
Verily  Makkah  and  Al  Madinah  have  their  superiority  by  reason 
of  the  Ka'abah  and  the  Prophet — the  blessing  of  Allah  be  upon 
him  and  his  family  !— but,  in  truth,  on  the  Day  of  Judgment  both 
cities  will  come  to  Jerusalem,  and  the  excellencies  of  them  all  will 
then  be  united.  And  as  to  Jerusalem  being  the  most  spacious 


of  cities  ;  why,  since  all  created  things-  are  to  assemble  there,  what 
place  on  the  earth  can  be  more  extensive  than  this  ? 

"  Still,  Jerusalem  has  some  disadvantages.  Thus  it  is  reported, 
as  found  written  in  the  Torah  (or  Books)  of  Moses,  that '  Jerusalem 
is  as  a  golden  basin  filled  with  scorpions.'  Then  you  will  not  find 
anywhere  baths  more  filthy  than  those  of  the  Holy  City ;  nor  any- 
where the  fees  for  the  same  heavier.  Learned  men  are  few,  and 
the  Christians  numerous,  and  the  same  are  unmannerly  in  the 
public  places.  In  the  hostelries  the  taxes  are  heavy  on  all  that  is 
sold  ;  there  are  guards  at  every  gate,  and  no  one  is  allowed  to  sell 
of  the  necessities  of  life  except  in  the  appointed  places.  In  this 
city  the  oppressed  have  no  succour ;  the  meek  are  molested,  and 
the  rich  envied.  Jurisconsults  remain  unvisited,  and  erudite  men 
have  no  renown ;  also  the  schools  are  unattended,  for  there  are  no 
lectures.  Everywhere  the  Christians  and  the  Jews  have  the  upper 
hand  :  and  the  mosque  is  void  of  either  congregation  or  assembly 
of  learned  men."  (Muk.,  166,  167.  The  translation  is  somewhat 

That  the  Christians  and  Jews  had  the  upper  hand  in  Jerusalem 
in  the  century  preceding  the  first  Crusade  is  certainly  a  curious  and 
noteworthy  fact.  In  his  introductory  chapter  Mukaddasi  states  that 
"  in  Jerusalem  no  one  can  find  either  defect  or  deficiency.  Wine 
is  not  publicly  consumed,  and  there  is  no  drunkenness.  The  city 
is  devoid  of  houses  of  ill-fame,  whether  public  or  private.  The 
people,  too,  are  noted  for  piety  and  sincerity.  At  one  time,  when 
it  became  known  that  the  Governor  drank  wine,  they  built  up 
round  his  house  a  wall,  and  thus  prevented  from  getting  to  him 
those  who  were  invited  to  his  banquets."  (Muk.,  7.) 

Mukaddasi  further  continues : 

"  The  territory  of  the  Holy  City  is  counted  as  all  the  country 
that  lies  within  a  radius  of  forty  miles  from  Jerusalem,  and 
includes  many  villages.  For  twelve  miles  the  frontier  follows  the 
shore  (of  the  Dead  Sea)  over  against  Sughar  and  Maab  ;  then  for 
five  miles  it  lies  through  the  desert,  and  is  in  the  district  towards 
the  south,  even  unto  the  country  that  lies  beyond  Al  Kusaifah  and 
the  land  that  is  over  against  it.  And  on  the  north  the  frontier 
reaches  to  the  limits  of  Nabulus.  This,  then,  is  the  land  which 


Allah — may  He  be  exalted  ! — has  called  blessed  (Kuran,  xxi.  71) ; 
it  is  a  country  where,  on  the  hills  are  trees,  and  in  the  plains  fields 
that  need  neither  irrigation  nor  the  watering  of  rivers,  even  as  the 
two  men  (Caleb  and  Joshua)  reported  to  Moses,  the  son  of  'Amran, 
saying  :  '  We  came  on  a  land  flowing  with  milk  and  honey.'  I 
myself  at  times  in  Jerusalem  have  seen  cheese  selling  at  a  sixth 
of  a  Dirham  for  the  Ratl,  and  sugar  at  a  Dirham  the  Ratl  ;  and 
for  that  same  sum  you  could  obtain  either  a  Ratl  and  a  half  of 
olive-oil,  or  four  Ratls  of  raisins."  (Muk.,  173.) 

Taking  the  Dirham  at  tenpence,  and  the  Syrian  Ratl  at  6  Ibs., 
we  have  cheese  at  about  a  farthing  a  pound,  sugar  at  a  penny 
three  farthings  a  pound,  olive-oil  at  about  a  shilling  the  gallon, 
and  raisins  at  the  rate  of  2\  Ib.  for  a  penny.  The  great  natural 
fertility  of  all  the  country  round  Jerusalem  is  constantly  referred 
to  by  the  Arab  writers.  Mukaddasi  notes  that  "  in  Palestine, 
during  the  summer-time,  every  night,  when  the  south  wind  is 
blowing,  dew  falls,  and  in  such  quantities  that  the  gutters  of  the 
Aksa  Mosque  are  set  to  run."  (Muk.,  186.)* 

The  position  of  Jerusalem  crowning  a  hill-spur,  and  surrounded 
on  three  sides  by  deep  gorges,  seems  to  have  struck  alike  both 
Eastern  and  Western  pilgrims.  The  Arabs  were  accustomed  to 
build  their  great  cities  in  the  valleys,  or  else  in  the  plain-country, 
for  the  sake  of  the  streams.  The  Persian  traveller  Nasir-i-Khusrau, 
who  reached  Jerusalem  on  March  5,  1047,  approached  the  Holy 
City  by  the  northern  road.  He  writes  : 

"  After  we  had  continued  our  upward  road  some  way  from 
Kariyat-al-'Anab,  a  great  plain  opened  out  in  front  of  us,  part  of 
which  was  stony,  and  part  of  it  good  soil ;  and  here,  as  it  were, 
on  the  summit  of  the  mountain,  lay  before  our  view  Bait-al- 
Mukaddas  (the  Holy  City).  Now,  the  men  of  Syria,  and  of  the 

*  The  following  passage  from  The  Holy  Land  and  the  Bible,  by  Cunningham 
Geikie,  D.D.,  may  illustrate  the  exactness  of  Muknddasi's  observations  :  "  In 
Palestine,"  Dr.  Geikie  writes,  "  the  bright  skies  cause  the  heat  of  the  day  to 
radiate  very  quickly  into  space,  so  that  the  nights  are  as  cold  as  the  day  is  the 
reverse.  To  this  coldness  of  the  night-air,  the  indispensable  watering  of  all 
plant-life  is  due.  The  winds,  loaded  with  moisture,  are  robbed  of  it  as  they 
pass  over  the  land,  the  cold  air  condensing  it  into  drops  of  water,  which  fall  in 
a  gracious  rain  of  mist  on  every  thirsty  blade." 


neighbouring  parts,  call  the  Holy  City  by  the  name  of  Kuds  (the 
Holy) ;  and  the  people  of  these  provinces,  if  they  are  unable  to 
make  the  pilgrimage  (to  Makkah),  will  go  up  at  the  appointed 
season  to  Jerusalem,  and  there  perform  their  rites,  and  upon  the 
feast-day  slay  the  sacrifice,  as  is  customary  to  do  (at  Makkah)  on 
the  same  day.  There  are  years  when  as  many  as  twenty  thousand 
people  will  be  present  at  Jerusalem  during  the  first  days  of  the 
(pilgrimage)  month  of  Dhu-1  Hijjah  ;  for  they  bring  their  children 
also  with  them,  in  order  to  celebrate  their  circumcision.  From 
all  the  countries  of  the  Greeks,  too,  and  from  other  lands,  the 
Christians  and  the  Jews  come  up  to  Jerusalem  in  great  numbers, 
in  order  to  make  their  visitation  of  the  Church  (of  the  Resurrec- 
tion) and  the  synagogue  that  is  there ;  and  this  great  Church  (of 
the  Resurrection)  at  Jerusalem  we  shall  describe  further  on  in  its 
proper  place.  (See  Chapter  V.) 

"  The  lands  and  villages  round  the  Holy  City  are  situate  upon 
the  hillsides  ;  the  land  is  well  cultivated,  and  they  grow  corn, 
olives,  and  figs  ;  there  are  also  many  kinds  of  trees  here.  In  all  the 
country  round  there  is  no  (spring)  water  for  irrigation,  and  yet  the 
produce  is  very  abundant,  and  the  prices  are  moderate.  Many  of 
the  chief  men  harvest  as  much  as  50,000  Manns  weight  (or  about 
16,800  gallons)  of  olive-oil.  This  is  kept  in  tanks  and  cisterns, 
and  they  export  thereof  to  other  countries.  It  is  said  that  drought 
never  visits  the  soil  of  Syria.  Jerusalem  is  a  city  set  on  a  hill, 
and  there  is  no  water  therein,  except  what  falls  in  rain.  The 
villages  round  have  springs  of  water,  but  the  Holy  City  has  no 
springs.  The  city  is  enclosed  by  strong  walls  of  stone,  mortared, 
and  there  are  iron  gates.  Round  about  the  city  there  are  no 
trees,  for  it  is  all  built  on  the  rock.  Jerusalem  is  a  very  great 
city,  and  at  the  time  of  my  visit  it  contained  a  population  of 
some  twenty  thousand  men.  It  has  high,  well  built,  and  clean 
bazaars.  All  the  streets  are  paved  with  slabs  of  stone ;  and 
wheresoever  there  was  a  hill  or  a  height,  they  have  cut  it  down 
and  made  it  level,  so  that  as  soon  as  the  rain  falls  (the  water  runs 
off),  and  the  whole  place  is  washed  clean.  There  are  in  the 
city  numerous  artificers,  and  each  craft  has  a  separate  bazaar." 
(N.  Kh.,  23,  24.)  , 



The  great  mosque  of  Jerusalem,  Al  Masjid  al  Aksa,  the 
"  Further  Mosque,"  derives  its  name  from  the  traditional  Night 
Journey  of  Muhammad,  to  which  allusion  is  made  in  the  words  of 
the  Kuran  (xvii.  i)  :  "I  declare  the  glory  of  Him  who  transported 
His  servant  by  night  from  the  Masjid  al  Haram  (the  Mosque 
at  Makkah)  to  the  Masjid  al  Aksa  (the  Further  Mosque)  at 
Jerusalem  " — the  term  "  Mosque  "  being  here  taken  to  denote  the 
whole  area  of  the 'Noble  Sanctuary,  and  not  the  Main-building  of 
the  Aksa  only,  which,  in  the  Prophet's  days,  did  not  exist. 

According  to  the  received  account,  Muhammad  was  on  this 
occasion  mounted  on  the  winged  steed  called  Al  Burak — "  the 
Lightning  " — and,  with  the  angel  Gabriel  for  escort,  was  carried 
from  Makkah,  first  to  Sinai,  and  then  to  Bethlehem,  after  which 
they  came  to  Jerusalem.  "  And  when  we  reached  Bait  al  Makdis, 
the  Holy  City,"  so  runs  the  tradition,  "we  came  to  the  gate  of 
the  mosque  (which  is  the  Haram  Area),  and  here  Jibrail  caused 
me  to  dismount.  And  he  tied  up  Al  Burak  to  a  ring,  to  which 
the  prophets  of  old  had  also  tied  their  steeds."  (Ibn  al  Athir's 
Chronicle,  ii.  37.)  Entering  the  Haram  Area  by  the  gateway, 
afterwards  known  as  the  Gate  of  the  Prophet,  Muhammad  and 
Gabriel  went  up  to  the  Sacred  Rock,  which  of  old  times  had 
stood  in  the  centre  of  Solomon's  Temple  ;  and  in  its  neighbour- 
hood meeting  the  company  of  the  prophets,  Muhammad  pro- 
ceeded to  perform  his  prayer-prostrations  in  the  assembly  of  his 
predecessors  in  the  prophetic  office — Abraham,  Moses,  Jesus, 
and  ethers  of  God's  ancient  apostles.  From  the  Sacred  Rock 
Muhammad,  accompanied  by  Gabriel,  next  ascended,  by  a  ladder 
of  light,  up  into  heaven  ;  and,  in  anticipation,  was  vouchsafed  the 
sight  of  the  delights  of  Paradise.  Passing  through  the  seven 
heavens,  Muhammad  ultimately  stood  in  the  presence  of  Allah, 
from  whom  he  received  injunctions  as  to  the  prayers  his  followers 
were  to  perform.  Thence,  after  a  while,  he  descended  again  to 
earth ;  and,  alighting  at  the  foot  of  the  ladder  of  light,  stood 
again  on  the  Sacred  Rock  at  Jerusalem.  The  return  journey 
homeward  was  made  after  the  same  fashion — on  the  back  of  the 


steed  Al  Burak — and  the  Prophet  reached  Makkah  again  before 
the  night  had  waned.*  Such,  in  outline,  is  the  tradition  of  the 
Prophet's  Night  Journey,  which  especially  sanctifies  the  Rock  and 
the  Haram  Area  in  the  sight  of  all  true  believers. 

After  the  capitulation  of  Jerusalem  to  'Omar  in  635  (A.H  14), 
that  Khalif  caused  a  mosque  to  be  built  on  what  was  considered 
to  be  the  ancient  site  of  the  Temple  (or  Masjid)  of  David. 
The  traditional  position  of  this  site,  'Omar  (as  it  is  stated) 
verified,  by  the  re-discovery  of  the  Rock — concealed  under  a  dung- 
hill— from  the  description  that  had  been  given  to  him,  'Omar, 
by  the  Prophet,  of  the  place  where  he  had  made  his  prayer- 
prostrations  in  Jerusalem  on  the  occasion  of  his  Night-Journey. 

The  traditional  accounts  of  'Omar's  discovery  of  the  Rock  will 
be  given  later  on.  It  should,  however,  be  here  noted  that  none 
of  the  earlier  Arab  annalists  (such  as  Biladhuri,  or  Tabari)  record 
any  details  of  the  building,  by  'Omar,  of  the  Aksa  Mosque.  In 
the  early  days  of  Islam — namely,  under  'Omar  and  his  successors, 
down  to  the  settlement  of  the  Khalifate,  in  the  family  of  the 
Omayyads,  at  Damascus — mosques  were,  without  doubt,  con- 
structed of  wood  and  sun-dried  bricks,  and  other  such  perishable 
materials.  Hence,  of  the  buildings  erected  in  'Omar's  days,  pro- 
bably but  little  remained,  half  a  century  later,  to  be  incorporated 
in  the  magnificent  stone  mosque  erected  by  the  orders  of  the 
Omayyad  Khalif,  'Abd  al  Malik,  about  the  year  690  (A.H.  72). 
It  seems  probable,  also,  that  this  latter  Khalif,  when  he  began  to 
rebuild  the  Aksa,  made  use  of  the  materials  which  lay  to  hand  in 
the  ruins  of  the  great  St.  Mary  Church  of  Justinian,  which  must 
originally  have  stood  on  the  site,  approximately,  on  which  the  Aksa 
Mosque  was  afterwards  raised.  Possibly,  in  the  substructures  still 
to  be  seen  at  the  south-east  corner  of  the  Aksa,  we  have  the 
remains  of  Justinian's  church,  described  by  Procopiusf  as  erected 

*  Further  details  of  the  traditional  account  of  this  celebrated  Night  Journey 
may  be  read  in  chapter  xii.  of  Washington  Irving's  Life  of  Mahomet.  In  the 
commentaries  on  the  Kuran,  the  account  found  in  the  Ibn  al  Athir  and  the 
other  chroniclers  is  considerably  amplified. 

f  See  Palestine  Pilgrim's  Text  Society,  Procopins,  p.  138.  The  subject  is 
ably  discussed  in  Professor  Hayter-Lewis'  recent  work,  The  Holy  Places  of 
Jerusalem,  chapter  iv.,  where  all  the  authorities  are  cited. 


in  560  A.D.,  and  burnt  down  in  614  by  Chosroes  II.  during  the 
-reat  Persian  raid  through  Syria,  which  laid  most  of  the  Christian 
buildings  of  the  Holy  Land  in  ruins.  Perhaps  also  the  remarkable 
silence  of  all  the  Arab  writers  in  regard  to  the  date  of  'Abd  al 
Malik's  rebuilding  of  the  Aksa  may  be  taken  as  an  indirect  proof 
that  that  Khalif  did  not  erect  the  edifice  from  its  foundations, 
but  that  he  made  use  of  the  remains  of  the  St.  Mary  Church 
(where  'Omar  had  raised  his  primitive  mosque),  incorporating 
these  into  the  new  Aksa,  which  thus  rose  on  the  ruins  of  the 
Christian  edifice. 

However  this  may  be,  the  Chronicles  make  no  mention  of  the 
date  or  fact  of  'Abd  al  Malik's  rebuilding  of  the  Aksa  Mosque, 
and  the  earliest  detailed  description  of  the  same  is  that  given 
by  Mukaddasi  in  985,  some  three  centuries  after  'Abd  al  Malik's 
days.  Of  the  Dome  of  the  Rock,  on  the  other  hand,  we  possess 
detailed  accounts  in  the  older  authorities,  describing  both  the 
foundation  in  A.H.  72  (691),  and  the  general  appearance  the  Dome 
presented  as  early  as  the  third  century  of  the  Hijrah.  It  would 
appear  as  though  the  Arab  chroniclers  and  the  travellers  who 
visited  the  Haram  Area  at  this  period  were  more  impressed  by 
the  magnificence  of  the  Dome  of  the  Rock  than  by  the  Main- 
building  of  the  Aksa  Mosque,  of  which  the  Dome  of  the  Rock, 
in  fact,  was  but  an  adjunct.  Previous  to  Mukaddasi's  account, 
what  we  know  of  the  history  of  the  Aksa  Mosque  may  be  sum 
marized  as  follows :  According  to  tradition,  in  or  about  the  year 
635  (A.H.  14),  'Omar  erected  a  mosque  (probably  of  wood) 
at  Jerusalem.*  Presumably  about  the  year  691  (A.H.  72),  the 

*  In  so  far  as  I  have  been  able  to  discover,  the  earliest  mention  of  'Omar's 
building  a  mosque  in  Jerusalem  is  the  account  found  in  the  Chronicle  of  the 
Byzantine  historian  Theophanes.  The  following  is  a  translation  from  the 
Greek  which  will  be  found  on  p.  524,  vol.  i.,  of  the  Chronographia  (Bonn, 
!839)  =  "  Anno  Mundi  6135,  Anno  Domini  635.  In  this  year  Omar  began  to 
restore  the  Temple  at  Jerusalem,  for  the  building,  in  truth,  no  longer  then  stood 
firmly  founded,  but  had  fallen  to  ruin.  Now  when  Omar  inquired  the  cause, 
the  Jews  answered  saying:  '  Unless  thou  throw  down  the  Cross,  which  stands 
on  the  Mount  of  Olives,  the  building  of  the  Temple  will  never  be  firmly 
founded.'  Thereupon  Omar  threw  clown  the  Cross  at  that  place,  in  order  that 
the  building  (of  the  Temple)  might  be  made  firm  ;  and  for  the  sa ne  cause 
innumerable  crosses  in  other  quarters  these  enemies  of  Christ  did  likewise 


Omayyad  Khalif  'Abd  al  Malik  rebuilt  the  Aksa  Mosque  (vide 
Mukaddasi  and  Suyuti).  In  746  (A.H.  130),  an  earthquake  is 
said  to  have  thrown  down  the  greater  part  of  the  Aksa.  Of 
this  earthquake,  and  the  damage  caused  by  it,  the  earliest 
detailed  account  I  have  been  able  to  find  is  that  (see  below) 
given  by  the  author  of  the  Muthir,  who  is,  however,  a  late 
authority,  namely,  A.D.  1351.  The  early  Chronicles  of  Tabari 
and  of  Ibn  al  Athir  make  no  mention  of  this  earthquake  of 
A.D.  746,  though  Mukaddasi  (985)  alludes  in  general  terms  to  the 
earthquake  which  had  thrown  down  the  Aksa  in  the  days  of  the 
Abbasides.  If  the  date  of  the  earthquake,  AH.  130  (746),  be 
correct,  it  should  be  noted  in  passing  that  this  was  two  years 
before  the  overthrow  of  the  Damascus  Khalifate  ;  since  it  wras  only 
in  A.H.  132  that  As  Saffah  conquered  his  Omayyad  rival,  and 
founded  the  dynasty  of  the  Abbasides,  who  shortly  after  this 
transferred  their  seat  of  government  from  Damascus  in  Syria  to 
Baghdad  on  the  Tigris. 

The  account  referred  to  above,  as  given  by  the  author  of  the 
Muthir,  of  the  earthquakes  is  as  follows  :* 

"On  the  authority  of  'Abd  ar  Rahman  ibn  Muhammad  ibn 
Mansur  ibn  Thabit,  from  his  father,  who  had  it  from  his  father 
and  grandfather.  In  the  days  of  'Abd  al  Malik,  all  the  gates  of  the 
mosque  were  covered  with  plates  of  gold  and  of  silver.  But  in  the 
reign  of  the  Khalif  Al  Mansur,  both  the  eastern  and  the  western 
portions  of  the  mosque  had  fallen  down.  Then  it  was  reported  to 
the  Khalif,  saying,  '  O  commander  of  the  faithful,  verily  the  earth- 
quake in  the  year  130  (A.D.  746)  did  throw  down  the  eastern  part 
of  the  mosque  and  the  western  part  also  ;  now,  therefore,  do  thou 
give  orders  to  rebuild  the  same  and  raise  it  again.'  And  the 

overthrow."  Theophanes  was  born  in  751,  and  wrote  his  Chronicle  towards 
the  close  of  the  eighth  century  A.D.  (he  died  in  818  A.D.,  203  A.H.),  and  he  is 
therefore  prior  by  more  than  half  a  century  to  the  earliest  Arab  authorities. 
His  youth  is  separated  by  considerably  under  a  century  and  a  half  from  the 
date  of  Omar's  conquest  of  Jerusalem. 

*  The  Arabic  text  of  this  passage,  collated  from  several  MSS.  in  the 
Bibliotheque  Nationale,  is  printed  in  my  paper  in  the  J.  R.  A.  S.,  new  series, 
xix.,  p.  304.  The  passage  is  copied  verbatim  by  Suyuti  (in  1470),  and  again 
by  Mujir  ad  Din  (in  1496)  ;  see  p.  250  of  the  Cairo  text  of  the  latter  author. 


Khalif  replied  that  as  there  were  no  moneys  in  his  treasury,  (to 
supply  the  lack  of  coin)  they  should  strip  off  the  plates  of  gold 
and  of  silver  that  overlaid  the  gates.  So  they  stripped  these  off 
and  coined  therefrom  Dinars  and  Dirhams,  which  moneys  were 
expended  on  the  rebuilding  of  the  mosque  until  it  was  completed. 
Then  occurred  a  second  earthquake,  and  the  building  that  Al 
Mansur  had  commanded  to  be  built  fell  to  the  ground.  In  the 
days  of  the  Khalif  Al  Mahdi,  who  succeeded  him,  the  mosque 
was  still  lying  in  ruins,  which,  being  reported  to  him,  he  com- 
manded them  to  rebuild  the  same.  And  the  Khalif  said  that  the 
mosque  had  been  (of  old)  too  narrow,  and  of  too  great  length — 
and  (for  this  reason)  it  had  not  been  much  used  by  the  people — 
so  now  (in  rebuilding  it)  they  should  curtail  the  length  and  in- 
crease the  breadth.  Now  the  restoration  of  the  mosque  was 
completed  on  the  new  plan  during  the  days  of  his  Khalifate." 

From  this  account  we  learn  that  in  A.H.  130  the  Aksa  was  thrown 
down  by  earthquake  and  rebuilt  by  the  Khalif  Al  Mansur.  This 
restoration  by  Al  Mansur  probably  took  place  about  the  year  A.H.  154 
(771),  for  in  that  year  the  Chronicles  of  Tabari  and  of  Ibn  al  Athir 
inform  us  that  Al  Mansur  visited  Jerusalem,  and  prayed  in  the 
mosque.*  The  Chronicles,  however,  be  it  noted,  make  no  mention 
of  Al  Mansur's  restoration  of  the  building :  this  we  only  read  in 
the  account  given  by  the  author  of  the  Muthir.  According  to  this 
latter  author  a  second  earthquake  (of  which,  however,  apparently  no 
mention  is  made  in  any  of  the  Chronicles)  laid  Al  Mansur's  build- 
ing in  ruins ;  and  afterwards  the  Khalif  Al  Mahdi,  his  successor, 
rebuilt  the  Aksa  a  second  time,  making  it  on  this  occasion  broader 
and  shorter.  Of  Al  Mahdi's  restoration,  as  in  the  former  case, 
no  mention  is  found  in  the  Chronicles.  If,  however,  the  authority 
of  the  Muthir  is  to  be  accepted  for  the  fact,  we  should  place  this 
second  restoration  in  or  about  the  year  780  (A.H.  163),  for  in  that 
year,  according  to  Tabari, f  the  Khalif  Al  Mahdi  went  to  Jerusalem 
and  made  his  prayers  in  the  Aksa  Mosque,  and  he  would  then 
doubtless  have  had  the  ruined  condition  of  the  building  brought 
under  his  notice. 

*  Tabari,  Series  III.,  p.  372  ;  Ibn  al  Athir,  vol.  v.,  p.  467. 
f  Tabari,  Series  III.,  p.  500. 


From  about  the  year  A.D.  780,  when  the  Aksa  was  restored  in 
Al  Mahdi's  reign,  down  to  985  when  Mukaddasi  describes  it,  as 
far  as  is  known  from  the  historians,  no  accident  befell  the  mosque. 
Shortly  before  this,  however,  "  a  colonnade  supported  on  marble 
pillars,"  as  we  learn  from  Mukaddasi,  had  been  erected  by  the 
celebrated  'Abd  Allah  ibn  Tahir,  for  many  years  independent 
Governor  of  Khurasan  and  the  East.  Of  the  appearance  of  the 
Aksi  previous  to  Mukaddasi's  date,  the  early  geographers  tell  us 
next  to  nothing.  What  little  is  noted  by  them  will  be  given  on  a 
subsequent  page,  where  the  accounts  are  translated  in  extenso. 

Before,  however,  these  passages  are  laid  before  the  reader,  and 
in  order  that  he  may  rightly  understand  the  descriptions  which  the 
early  Muslim  writers  have  left  of  the  Noble  Sanctuary,  with  the 
buildings  of  the  Aksa  and  the  Dome  of  the  Rock,  it  will  be 
necessary  to  enter  into  rome  explanations  of  the  Arab  and  technical 
usage  of  the  word  "  mosque."  The  main  characteristics  of  the 
primitive  Arab  mosque  are  well  exemplified  in  the  accompanying 
plan  representing  the  Jami'  of  Ibn  Tulun.  This  is  the  oldest 
mosque  in  Cairo,  having  been  erected  by  Ahmad  ibn  Tulun  about 
the  year  879  (265  A.H.) 

As  here  seen  in  its  simplest  form,  the  mosque  primarily  consisted 
of  an  open  courtyard,  within  which,  and  round  its  four  walls,  ran 
colonnades  or  cloisters,  to  give  shelter  to  the  worshippers.  On  the 
side  of  the  court  towards  the  Kiblah  (in  the  direction  of  Makkah), 
and  facing  which  the  worshipper  must  stand  and  kneel  during 
prayers,  the  colonnade,  instead  of  being  single,  is,  for  the  con- 
venience of  the  increased  numbers  of  the  congregation,  widened 
out  to  form  the  Jami',  or  "  place  of  assembly."  In  the  case  of  Ibn 
Tulun's  Mosque,  five  rows  of  columns,  with  the  boundary-wall, 
form  the  five  transverse  aisles  (A  to  a).  In  the  centre  of  the 
boundary- wall  on  the  Makkah  side  is  set  the  great  Mihrab  of  the 
mosque  (a),  indicating  the  direction  of  the  Kiblah.  Now  in  all 
descriptions  of  a  mosque  it  is  taken  for  granted  that  the  visitor  is 
standing  in  the  Court  (as  Satin}  of  the  mosque,  and  facing  the 
Kiblah.  Fronting  him  therefore  is  the  Main-building,  called  the 
"covered-part"  (al  Mughatta),  or  the  " fore-part "  (at Mukaddamah} 
of  the  mosque  (A  to  a) ;  while  in  his  rear  is  the  colonnade  (B), 



single  or  double,  against  the  wall  of  the  courtyard,  furthest  from 
the  Makkah-side,  and  this  is  called  the  "  back  "  of  the  mosque 
(al  Mitakhkharali).  The  "  right-hand  side  "  of  the  mosque  is  in 
the  neighbourhood  of  the  colonnades  (C),  along  the  wall  on  the 
right  of  the  Court  when  you  face  the  Mihrab,  and  the  "  left-hand 
side  "  is  on  the  opposite  side  (D).  In  the  Court  (as  Sahn)  thus 







•     . 







_.  I 

»           u 

•       • 

»             9 
'              *• 


•  i 

M  0  S  OUZ 

.     .  . 


jAMl'    OF     IBN    TULUN 


enclosed,  are  often  other  buildings,  such  as  tombs  or  minor 
chapels.  In  the  Mosque  of  Ibn  Tulun  there  is  a  domed  building 
(E),  originally  intended  to  serve  as  the  mausoleum  of  the  founder, 
but  which,  as  he  died  far  away  in  Syria,  was  subsequently  fitted 
up  with  a  water-tank  to  serve  as  a  place  for  the  ablution  before 


Turning  now  to  the  Arab  descriptions  of  the  Haram  Area  at 
Jerusalem,  the  point  it  is  of  importance  to  remember  is  that  the 
term  Masjid  (whence  through  the  Egyptian  pronunciation  of 
Masgid,  and  the  Spanish  Mezquita,  our  word  "  mosque  v)  applies 
to  the  whole  of  the  Haram  Area,  not  to  the  Aksa  alone.  Masjid 
in  Arabic  means  "  a  place  of  prostration  (in  prayer) ;"  and  therefore 
to  revert  once  again  to  Ibn  Tulun's  Mosque,  (i)  the  Main- 
building,  A ;  (2)  the  Court,  and  (3)  the  Colonnades  at  the  back, 
B  ;  with  those  (4)  to  the  right,  C ;  to  the  left,  D  ;  as  also  (5)  the 
Dome  E  in  the  Court — one  and  all  form  essential  parts  of  the 
mosque,  and  are  all  comprehended  by  the  term  "  Al  Masjid.  ' 

Bearing  these  points  in  mind,  and  coming  to  the  Noble 
Sanctuary  at  Jerusalem,  we  find  that  the  term  "Masjid,"  as 
already  stated,  is  commonly  applied  not  only  to  the  Aksa  Mosque 
(more  properly  they*?////',  or  "place  of  assembly,"  for  prayer),  but 
to  the  wrhole  enclosure  of  the  great  Court,  with  the  Dome  of  the 
Rock  in  the  middle,  and  all  the  other  minor  domes,  and  chapels, 
and  colonnades.  The  Dome  of  the  Rock  (misnamed  by  the 
Franks  "  the  Mosque  of  'Omar  "),  is  not  itself  a  mosque  or  place 
for  public  prayer,  but  merely  the  largest  of  the  many  cupolas  in 
the  Court  of  the  Mosque,  and  in  this  instance  was  built  to  cover 
and  do  honour  to  the  Holy  Rock  which  lies  beneath  it. 

Great  confusion  is  introduced  into  the  Arab  descriptions  of  the 
Noble  Sanctuary  by  the  indiscriminate  use  of  the  terms  Al  Masjid 
or  Al  Masjid  al  Aksd,Jami'  or  Jami  al  Aksa  ;  and  nothing  but  an 
intimate  acquaintance  with  the  locality  described  will  prevent  a 
translator,  ever  and  again,  misunderstanding  the  text  he  has 
before  him — since  the  native  authorities  use  the  technical  terms  in 
an  extraordinarily  inexact  manner,  often  confounding  the  whole, 
and  its  part,  under  the  single  denomination  of  "  Masjid."  Further, 
the  usage  of  various  writers  differs  considerably  on  these  points : 
Mukaddasi  invariably  speaks  of  the  whole  Haram  Area  as  Al 
Masjid,  or  as  Al  Masjid  al  Aksa,  "the  Aksa  Mosque,"  or  "the 
mosque,"  while  the  Main-building  of  the  mosque,  at  the  south 
end  of  the  Haram  Area,  which  we  generally  term  the  Aksa,  he 
refers  to  as  Al  Mnghatta,  "  the  Covered-part."  Thus  he  writes 
"  the  mosque  is  entered  by  thirteen  gates,"  meaning  the  gates  of 


the  Haram  Area.  So  also  "on  the  right  of  the  court,"  means 
along  the  west  wall  of  the  Haram  Area ;  "  on  the  left  side  "  means 
the  east  wall ;  and  "  at  the  back  "  denotes  the  northern  boundary 
wall  of  the  Haram  Area. 

Nasir-i-Khusrau,  who  wrote  in  Persian,  uses  for  the  Main-building 
of  the  Aksa.  Mosque  the  Persian  word  Pushish,  that  is,  "  Covered- 
part,"  which  exactly  translates  the  Arabic  Al  Mughatta.  On  some 
occasions,  however,  the  Aksa  Mosque  (as  we  call  it)  is  spoken  of 
by  Nasir  as  the  Maksurah,  a  term  used  especially  to  denote  the 
railed-off  oratory  of  the  Sultan,  facing  the  Mihrab,  and  hence  in 
an  extended  sense  applied  to  the  building  which  includes  the 
same.  The  great  Court  of  the  Haram  Area,  Nasir  always  speaks 
of  as  the  Masjid^  or  the  Mas/id  al  Aksa,  or  again  as  the  Friday 
Mosque  (Masjid-i-Jum'ati). 

In  the  presence  of  this  ambiguity  of  terms,  I  have  thought  it 
better  to  translate  Al  Masjid  and  the  various  other  phrases  by 
"  the  Haram  Area,"  or  "  the  Noble  Sanctuary,"  in  the  one  case,  and 
by  "  the  Aksa  Mosque  "  in  the  other,  as  circumstances  demanded, 
and  in  accordance  with  the  context ;  in  order  thus  to  render  the 
translation  perfectly  clear  to  European  readers.  It  may  be  added 
that  Muslim  authorities  speak  in  the  same  loose  way  of  "the 
Rock,"  when  they  really  mean  "  the  Dome  of  the  Rock  "  (Kubbat 
as  Sakhrah]  which  covers  the  same ;  but  this,  after  all,  is  only  as  we 
speak  of  the  "  Holy  Sepulchre,"  meaning  "  the  Church,"  which  is 
built  over  it.  In  concluding  these  preliminary  remarks,  attention 
is  directed  to  the  fact  that  the  Kiblah,  denoting  the  point  of  the 
compass  towards  Makkah,  is  in  Syria  used  approximately  as 
synonymous  with  "south."  In  Egypt,  as  will  be  seen  in  the  plan 
of  Ibn  Tulun's  Mosque,  the  Kiblah  points  east.  The  Kiblah  point 
in  a  mosque  is  indicated  by  a  niche  in  the  (Jami')  wall,  generally 
finely  ornamented,  called  the  Mihrab.  Besides  the  great  Mihrab 
of  the  mosque,  there  are  often  numerous  other  and  minor  Mihrabs 
(prayer  niches  or  oratories),  just  as  in  a  Catholic  church  there  are 
many  minor  altars  and  chapels  in  addition  to  the  high  altar  of  the 

Descriptions  of  the  Aksa  Mosque. — During  the  hundred  years 
that  preceded  Mukaddasi's  date,  Syria  and  Palestine  had  become 



lost  to  the  Baghdad  Khalifs.  In  878  (264)  Ahmad  ibn  Tulun, 
their  viceroy  at  Cairo,  had  asserted  his  independence,  seized  on 
Egypt  and  conquered  the  whole  of  Syria.  The  rule  of  the 
Tulunides  lasted  in  Southern  Syria  and  Palestine  till  934,  when  their 
power  was  transferred  to  the  Ikhshidis,  who,  in  turn,  were  driven 
out  of  Egypt  and  Syria  by  the  Fatimite  Khalif  Al  Mu'izz  in  969  ; 
and  it  was  under  the  rule  of  his  successor,  Al  'Aziz,  that  Mukad- 
dasi  wrote  his  description  of  Jerusalem  in  985. 

Mukaddasi's  account  of  the  Aksa  Mosque  at  this  date  is  as 
follows  : 

"The  Masjid  al  Aksa  (the  Further  Mosque  with  the  Haram 
Area)  lies  at  the  south-eastern  corner  of  the  Holy  City.  The 
stones  of  the  foundations  of  the  Haram  Area  wall,  which  were 
laid  by  David,  are  ten  ells,  or  a  little  less,  in  length.  They  are 
chiselled  (or  drafted},  finely  faced,  and  jointed,  and  of  hardest 
material.  On  these  the  Khalif  'Abd  al  Malik  subsequently  built, 
using  smaller  but  well-shaped  stones,  and  battlements  are  added 
above.  This  mosque  is  even  more  beautiful  than  that  of 
Damascus,  for  during  the  building  of  it  they  had  for  a  rival  and 
as  a  comparison  the  great  Church  (of  the  Holy  Sepulchre)  be- 
longing to  the  Christians  at  Jerusalem,  and  they  built  this  to  be 
even  more  magnificent  than  that  other.  But  in  the  days  of  the 
Abbasides  occurred  the  earthquakes,*  which  threw  down  most  of 
the  Main-building  (al  Mughatta,  which  is  the  Aksa  Mosque)  ;  all, 
in  fact,  except  that  portion  which  is  round  the  Mihrab.  Now 
when  the  Khalif  of  that  day  (who  was  Al  Mahdi)  obtained  news 
of  this,  he  inquired  and  learned  that  the  sum  at  that  time  in  the 
treasury  would  in  no  wise  suffice  to  restore  the  mosque.  So  he 
wrote  to  the  governors  of  the  provinces,  and  to  all  the  commanders, 
that  each  should  undertake  the  building  of  a  colonnade.  The 
order  was  carried  out,  and  the  edifice  rose  firmer  and  more  sub- 
stantial than  ever  it  had  been  in  former  times.  The  more  ancient 
portion  remained,  even  like  a  beauty  spot,  in  the  midst  of  the 
new,  and  it  extends  as  far  as  the  limit  of  the  marble  columns  ;  for 
beyond,  where  the  columns  are  of  concrete,  the  later  building 
commences.  The  Main-building  of  the  Aksa  Mosque  has  twenty- 

*  See  p.  92. 

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o  ooooooooooooooooooo 

o    o  o   o  o  o   o   o    o   o   o   o   o   o\  o  o-'o 

XxO      O      O  ,,'' 

o     oooooo     oooooooo    o  ~o"~'o   o     o  ta 

o     ooooooo    oooooooooooo 
o     ooooooooooooooooooo 

o     ooooooo     oooooooo     oooo 


o  o  ooooooo  o 


six  doors.  The  door  (D)  opposite  to  the  Mihrab  is  called  the 
Great  Brazen  Gate  ;  it  is  plated  with  brass  gilt,  and  is  so  heavy  that 
only,  a  man  strong  of  shoulder  and  of  arm  can  turn  it  on  its  hinges. 
To  the  right  hand  of  this  (Great  Gate)  are  seven  large  doors,  the 
midmost  covered  with  gilt  plates  ;  and  after  the  same  manner  there 
are  seven  doors  to  the  left.  And  further,  on  the  eastern  side  (of 
the  Aksa),  are  eleven  doors  unornamented.  Over  the  first- 
mentioned  doors,  fifteen  in  number,  is  a  colonnade  (C,  C)  sup- 
ported on  marble  pillars,  lately  erected  by  'Abd  Allah  ibn  Tahir.* 

"  On  the  right-hand  side  of  the  Court  (that  is  along  the  West  . 
Wall  of  the  Haram  Area)  are  colonnades  supported  by  marble 
pillars  and  pilasters  «'  and  on  the  back  (or  North  Wall  of  the 
Haram  Area)  are  colonnades  vaulted  in  stone.  The  centre  part  of 
the  Main-building  (of  the  Aksa)  is  covered  by  a  mighty  roof,  high- 
pitched  and  gable-wise,  over  which  rises  a  magnificent  dome. 
The  ceilings  everywhere — except  those  of  the  colonnades  at  the 
back  (along  the  North  Wall  of  the  Haram  Area) — are  covered 
with  lead  in  sheets ;  but  in  these  (northern)  colonnades  the  ceilings 
are  made  of  mosaics  studded-in. 

"  On  the  left  (or  east  side  of  the  Haram  Area)  there  are  no 
colonnades.  The  Main-building  of  the  (Aksa)  Mosque  does  not 
come  up  to  the  Eastern  Wall  of  the  Haram  Area,  the  building  here, 
as  it  is  said,  never  having  been  completed.  Of  the  reason  for  this 
they  give  two  accounts.  The  one  is,  that  the  Khalif  'Omar  com- 
manded the  people  to  erect  a  building  *  in  the  western  part  of  the 
Area,  as  a  place  of  prayer  for  Muslims  ;'  and  so  they  left  this  space 
(which  is  towards  the  south-eastern  angle)  unoccupied,  in  order  not 
to  go  counter  to  his  injunction.  The  other  reason  given  is,  that  itfl/ 
was  not  found  possible  to  extend  the  Main-building  of  the  (Aksa) 
Mosque  as  far  as  the  south-east  angle  of  the  Area  Wall,  lest  the 
(great)  Mihrab,  in  the  centre-place  at  the  end  of  the  Mosque, 
should  not  then  have  stood  opposite  the  Rock  under  the  Dome ; 
and  such  a  case  was  repugnant  to  them.  But  Allah  alone  knows 
the  truth."  (Muk.,  168-171.) 

On  a  subsequent  page  Mukaddasi  gives  an  account  of  the  Talis- 

*  Independent  Governor  of  Khurasan  and  the  East  from  828  to  844.     He 
was  third  in  succession  of  the  Tahiride  Dynasty. 



man  in  the  Aksa ;  and  Al  Biruni,*  writing  in  1000  (A.M.  390),  a 
few  years  later  than  Mukaddasi,  also  mentions  having  seen  these 
curious  writings ;  Mukaddasi's  notice  is  as  follows  : 

"  In  the  Holy  City  there  is  a  Talisman  against  the  bite  of 
serpents,  the  same  being  the  inscription  on  the  marble  slab  behind 
the  Pulpit  of  the  Great  Mosque,  where  is  cut  in  the  surface 
the  words  :  Mohammad  is  Allah's  Apostle  •  and,  again,  In  the 
name  of  Allah  the  Merciful,  the  Compassionate"  (Muk.,  186.) 

Ibn  al  Fakih,  who  wrote  (903)  about  eighty  years  before 
Mukaddasi,  has  the  following  note  on  this  Talisman.  He  also, 
as  will  be  noted,  speaks  of  the  Maksurahs,  or  spaces  in  the 
Mosque  railed-off  for  the  accommodation  of  the  women  ;  the 
dimensions,  however,  that  are  recorded  (70  or  80  ells  by  50, 
equivalent  to  120  feet  by  75)  make  it  difficult  to  understand 
how  these  could  have  been  inside  the  Aksa.  Perhaps,  therefore, 
the  Aksa  must  here  again  be  taken  to  mean  the  whole  Haram 
Area,  and  then  the  Maksurahs  may  have  stood  in  the  outer  court. 
The  account  of  Ibn  'Abd  Rabbin,  a  contemporary  (913),  confirms 
this.  Ibn  al  Fakih  writes  : 

"  To  the  right  of  the  Mihrab  (of  the  Aksa)  is  a  slab  on  which,  in  a 
circle,  is  written  the  name  of  Muhammad — the  blessing  of  Allah 
be  upon  him  ! — and  on  a  white  stone  behind  the  Kiblah  (wall,  to 
the  south)  is  an  inscription  in  the  following  words  :  In  the  name  of 
Allah,  the  Merciful,  the  Compassionate,  Muhammad  is  Allah's 
Apostle,  and  Hamzah  was  his  helper.  Now,  within  the  (Aksa) 
Mosque  are  three  Maksurahs  for  the  women,  each  Maksurah  being 
70  ells  in  length."  (I.  F.,  ioo.) 

On  the  subject  of  the  Maksurahs  Ibn  'Abd  Rabbih's  statement 
is  that : 

"  In  the  Mosque  (Al  Aksa)  are  three  Maksurahs  for  the  women, 
the  length  of  each  Maksurah  being  80  ells,  and  its  breadth  50." 
(I.  R.,  iii.  367.) 

It  will  be  seen  that  Mukaddasi,  writing  in  985  A.D.,  describes  the 

Aksa  Mosque  of  his  day  as  having  fifteen  doorways  opening  to  the 

north,  and  eleven  opening   to    the  east.     The  plan  of  the  Aksa 

must  then  have  been  very  different  from  that  of  the  present  build- 

*  Ath&r  al  Bdkiyah.     Sachau's  translation,  p.  294. 


ing,  as  may  be  seen  by  a  reference  to  the  illustrations  facing  pp.  99 
and  no.*  In  1016  (A.H.  407)  and  1034  (A.H.  425),  as  we  learn 
from  the  Chronicles  of  Ibn  al  Athir,  Syria  was  visited  by 
destructive  earthquakes.  He  writes  : 

"  In  407  the  Great  Dome  fell  down  upon  the  Rock  (as  Sakhrah) 
in  Jerusalem."f  And  again  :  "  In  425  earthquakes  were  many  in 
both  Egypt  and  Syria.  The  most  destructive  was  that  felt  at 
Ar  Ramlah.  The  people  abandoned  their  houses  there  during 
many  days ;  a  third  of  the  town  was  thrown  down,  and  many 
persons  were  killed  under  the  ruins."J 

Of  the  destruction  at  Ar  Ramlah  we  shall  speak  subsequently 
(see  Chapter  VIII.).  Considerable  damage  was  also  done  by  the 
earthquake  of  the  year  425  to  the  outer  wall  of  the  Haram  Area, 
and  an  extant  inscription  in  situ  records  the  date  of  the  restoration 
carried  out  here  by  order  of  the  Fatimite  Khalif  Adh  Dhahir.  The 
text  of  the  inscription  copied  from  a  stone  in  the  wall  of  the 
Haram  Area,  is  given  by  M.  de  Vogiie  in  his  magnificent  work  on 
Le  Temple  de  Jerusalem  (p.  77).  He  states  it  may  still  be  clearly 
read,  though  in  a  rather  dilapidated  condition,  on  two  of  the 
battlements  near  the  Cradle  of  Jesus,  at  the  south-east  Angle. 
The  translation  of  this  inscription  is  as  follows  : 

"...  the  days  of  the  Imam  adh  Dhahir  It  'fzdz  ad  Din  Allah,  the 
Commander  of  the  Faithful  .  .  .  (words  illegible)  .  .  .  the  southern 
outer  ivall  and  the  .  .  .  (eastern  ?)  outer  wall  .  .  .  year  four 
hundred  and  twenty-five" 

That  the  Aksa  Mosque  was  also  seriously  damaged  at  this 
period  is  proved  by  an  inscription  that  was  read  a  hundred  and 
forty  years  after  this  date,  on  the  ceiling  of  the  Dome  of  the 
Aksa  by  'AH  of  Herat,  who  visited  the  Holy  City  in  1173,  while 
the  place  was  still  in  the  hands  of  the  Crusaders.  This  inscrip- 
tion is  apparently  no  longer  to  be  seen— at  least,  M.  de  Vogiie 
makes  no  mention  of  it  in  his  work.  Possibly,  however,  it  might 

*  For  the  first  idea  of  the  plans  facing  pp.  99  and  106,  lam  indebted  to  Professor 
Hayter-Lewis  (see  his  paper  in  the  Palestine  Exploration  Fund  "  Quarterly 
Statement  "  for  January,  1887).  My  plans,  however,  differ  slightly  from  his, 
being  drawn  to  scale  on  the  measurements  given  by  Nasir-i-Khusrau  of  the 
Mosque  as  he  saw  it  in  1047. 

f  Ibn  al  Athir,  vol.  ix.f  p.  209.  %  Idem,  vol.  ix.,  p.  298. 


still  be  discovered  were  careful  search  instituted,*  for  'Ali  of 
Herat's  account  is  very  circumstantial,  as  will  be  seen  by  the 
following  translation  : 

"The  Aksa  Mosque. — In  this  Mosque  is  the  Mihrab  of  the 
Khalif  'Omar ;  the  Franks  have  not  done  it  any  damage.  On 
the  roof  I  read  the  following  inscription :  In  the  ?iame  of 
Allah  the  Compassionate,  the  Merciful.  Praise  to  Him  who 
brought  His  servant  (Muhammad}  by  night  from  the  Masjid  al 
Haram  (at  Makkah]  to  the  Masjid  al  Aksa  (at  Jerusalem),  on 
the  precincts  of  which  we  invoke  a  blessing.  May  Allah  give  aid  to 
His  servant  and  vicar,  'Ali  Abu-l  Hasan  adh  Dhahir-li- 2zazi-dm- 
Allah,  the  Commander  of  the  Faithful.  Allah's  benediction  be  upon 
him  and  upon  his  immaculate  forefathers,  and  upon  his  beneficent 
sons  /  For  the  restoration  of  this  same  Dome  and  its  gilding, 
hath  given  command  our  illustrious  and  dear  lord,  the  chosen  servant 
of  the  Commander  of  the  Faithful,  and  his  devoted  servant,  Abu-l 
Kasim  'Ali  ibn  Ahmad — Allah  give  him  aid  and  protection  !  The 
whole  of  this  (restoratio?i)  was  accomplished  by  the  last  day  of  the 
month  Dhu-l  Ka'adah,  of  the  year  426  :  he  who  (superintended)  the 
building  of  the  same  being  ' Abd  Allah  ibn  al  Hasan  of  Cairo,  the 
architect.  This  inscription,  as  well  as  the  porticoes,"  says  'Ali, 
"  are  all  done  over  with  mosaics  of  gold,  and  these  the  Franks 
have  not  touched  or  in  any  way  damaged." 

The  description  of  the  Aksa  in  985  by  Mukaddasi  is,  in  the 
main,  identical  with  that  given  by  Nasir,  who  visited  Jerusalem 
sixty  years  later  (1047),  and  the  two  accounts  taken  together  enable 
us  to  gain  a  very  exact  idea  of  the  appearance  of  the  Great 
Mosque  before  the  arrival  of  the  Crusaders.  The  chief  difference 
between  the  Mosque  as  described  by  Mukaddasi  and  that  seen  by 
Nasir  lies  in  the  number  of  gates.  Mukaddasi  says  there  were  in 
his  day  fifteen  gates  to  the  north,  and  eleven  to  the  east;  while  the 
Persian  pilgrim  describes  only  seven  gates  to  the  north,  and 
ten  opening  east.  Further,  Nasir  makes  no  mention  of  the 

*  My  translation  is  from  the  MS.  in  the  Bodleian,  at  fol.  36,  verso.  With 
a  view  of  the  possible  recovery  of  this  inscription,  I  have  printed  the  Arabic 
text  in  the  Palestine  Exploration  Fund  "  Quarterly  Statement  "  for  October, 
1888,  p.  280. 


colonnade  built  by  Ibn  Tahir,    which,  according  to  Mukaddasi, 
formed  a  portico  to  the  gates  opening  north. 

The  earthquakes  of  the  years  407  (1016)  and  425  (1034), 
which  took  place  between  the  dates  of  the  visits  of  Mukaddasi 
and  Nasir,  must  account  for  these  changes.  Ibn  Tahir's  colon- 
nade doubtless  fell,  and  the  North  Wall  of  the  Aksa,  weak  as 
it  was  by  the  apertures  pierced  in  it  for  the  fifteen  gates,  must  have 
suffered  much  damage.  When  the  walls  were  restored  aftei 
the  earthquakes,  five  gates  (instead  of  fifteen)  were  left  in  the 
North  Wall,  and  in  the  East  Wall  one  of  Mukaddasi's  eleven  gates 
was  presumably  blocked,  leaving  the  ten  open  as  seen  by  Nasir. 

Nasir  states  there  were  in  the  Mosque  280  columns.  These,  in 
a  small  degree,  would  recall  the  forest  of  columns  we  see  in  the 
great  Omayyad  Mosque  at  Cordova — at  this  present  day  the 
Cathedral.  That  the  Aksa  was  not  unlike  the  Cordovan 
Mosque  may  be  inferred  from  Idrisi's  mention  (see  p.  108)  of  the 
two  together  for  the  purposes  of  a  comparison  of  their  respective 
sizes.  The  Cordovan  Mosque,  begun  in  786  A.D.,  and  finished  by 
the  two  successors  of  the  Spanish  Khalif  'Abd  ar  Rahman  L, 
shows  at  the  present  day  no  fewer  than  850  columns  in  a  space 
that  measures  534  feet  by  387.  In  other  words,  the  Spanish 
Mosque  is  more  than  double  the  area  of  the  Aksa  in  Nasir's  days 
(as  we  shall  see  by  the  figures  immediately  to  be  quoted),  and  the 
Cordovan  building  must  have  contained  just  over  three  times  the 
number  of  columns  to  be  seen  in  1047  in  the  Great  Mosque 
at  Jerusalem.* 

To  return,  however,  to  the  description  of  the  Aksa.  It  will  be 
noticed  that  the  number  of  the  columns,  stated  by  Nasir  at  280, 
divides  up  very  well  to  form  the  fourteen  minor  aisles  going  south, 
towards  the  Kiblah,  from  the  fourteen  minor  gates  in  the  North 

*  The  Cordovan  Mosque  had  originally  eleven  longitudinal  aisles,  eight  more 
being  added  on  the  east  side  by  the  Khalif  Hisham.  In  its  first  design,  there- 
fore, this  Mosque  was  more  like  the  Aksa  even  than  it  came  to  be  after  the 
later  additions.  There  were  in  the  Spanish  Mosque  over  thirty  rows  of 
columns  originally,  doubtless  perfectly  symmetrically  arranged.  At  the  present 
day  many  columns  are  lacking  and  set  out  of  place,  to  accommodate  the  mon- 
strous Gothic  chapel  which  was  built  in  Charles  V.'s  days.  (See  Momimentos 
Arabes,  por  Rafael  Contreras,  Madrid,  1878,  p.  42.) 


Wall,  as  described  by  Mukaddasi.  I,  therefore,  take  it  for  granted 
that  in  Mukaddasi's  time  also  there  were  these  twenty  rows  of 
columns,  standing  6  ells  (12  feet)  apart,  with  fourteen  columns  in 
each  row,  and  it  is  on  this  data  that  the  two  plans  facing  pp.  99 
and  1 06  have  been  drawn. 

Nasir  is  the  first  to  give  us  the  exact  dimensions  of  the  Aksa. 
Twice  over,  he  says  that  the  East  Wall — that  is,  the  length  of  the 
Mosque  from  north  to  south — measured  "four  hundred  and  twenty 
cubits  •"  while  the  width  along  the  North  Wall  was  "  150  cubits."* 
The  width  of  150  cubits,  or  300  feet,  tallies  well  enough  with  the 
remainder  of  Nasir's  description,  and  with  what  is  known  from 
Mukaddasi  and  modern  measurements  in  the  Haram  Area.  The 
length  of  420  cubits,  however,  equivalent  to  840  feet,  is  an 
impossible  dimension  ;  for  this,  measuring  from  the  great  South 
Wall  of  the  Haram  Area,  would  bring  the  Northern  Gates  and 
Wall  of  the  Aksa  over  the  Dome  of  the  Rock  and  the  Platform. 
Without  any  great  likelihood  of  error,  we  should,  I  think,  read 
"  120  "  for  the  420.  This,  being  240  feet,  would  bring  the  North 
Wall  and  Gates  of  Nasir's  Mosque  on  the  same  line  as  the 
Gates  and  North  Wall  (inside  the  porch)  of  the  present  Mosque. 
Considerable  portions  of  the  extant  walls  between  the  Northern 
Gates  show  at  the  present  day  (according  to  M.  de  Vogue) 
unmistakable  traces  of  ancient  structure.  (See  the  plan  drawn  in 
De  Vogue's  Jerusalem,  plate  xxx.,  and  the  plan  facing  p.  no.)  And 
this  confirms  the  hypothesis  that  we  have  in  the  modern  walls  the 
line  still  unaltered  of  the  ancient  North  Wall  of  the  Mosque  as  it 
has  existed  since  the  days  when,  on  Al  Mahdi's  restoration,  the 
building  was  shortened  in  the  length,  and  made  broader  in 
the  width.  (See  p.  93.) 

Nasir's  measurements  of  the  open  space  between  the  south-east 
Angle  of  the  Haram  Area  and  the  East  Wall  of  the  Aksa,  namely, 
"200  ells  "  (see  next  page)  is,  in  round  numbers,  exact,  for  the 
measurement  would,  as  near  as  may  be,  have  been  400  feet,  if 
we  draw  the  plan  to  scale  on  the  figures  given  in  the  foregoing 

The  following  is  a  translation  of  Nasir-i-Khusrau's  description  of 
the  Aksa  Mosque  in  1047  : 

*  Seep.  106. 


"  The  Friday  Mosque  (which  is  the  Aksa)  lies  on  the  east 
side  of  the  city,  and  (as  before  noticed)  one  of  the  walls  of 
the  Mosque  (Area)  is  on  the  Wadi  Jahannum.  When  you 
examine  this  wall,  which  is  on  the  Wadi,  from  the  outside  of 
the  Haram  Area,  you  may  see  that  for  the  space  of  100  cubits  it  is 
built  up  of  huge  stones,  set  without  mortar  or  cement.  Inside  the 
Mosque  (Area)  the  summit  of  this  wall  is  perfectly  level.  The 
(Aksa)  Mosque  occupies  the  position  it  does  because  of  the 
Rock  As  Sakhrah."  (N.  Kh.,  26.) 

After  describing  the  Cradle  of  Jesus  (see  Chapter  V.),  Nasir 
continues  : 

"Then  passing  the  entrance  to  this  Mosque  (of  the  Cradle 
of  Jesus)  near  the  (south-eastern)  Angle  of  the  East  Wall  (of 
the  Haram  Area),  you  come  to  a  great  and  beautiful  Mosque, 
which  is  other  than  that  called  the  Cradle  of  Jesus,  and  is  of  many 
times  its  size.  This  is  called  the  Masjid  al  Aksa  (or  the  Further 
Mosque),  and  it  is  that  to  which  Allah — be  He  exalted  and 
glorified  ! — brought  His  chosen  (Apostle)  in  the  Night  Journey 
from  Makkah,  and  from  here  caused  him  to  ascend  up  into 
Heaven,  even  as  is  adverted  to  in  the  words  of  the  Kuran: 
Glory  be  to  Him  who  carried  His  servant  by  night  from  the 
Masjid  al  Haram  (the  sacred  Mosque  at  Makkah}  to  the  Masjid  al 
Aksa  (the  Mosque  that  is  more  Remote  at  Jerusalem),  whose 
precinct  we  have  blessed*  On  this  spot  they  have  built,  with 
utmost  skill,  a  Mosque.  Its  floor  is  spread  with  beautiful  carpets, 
and  special  servants  are  appointed  for  its  service  to  serve  therein 

"  From  the  (south-east)  Angle,  and  along  the  South  Wall  (of  the 
Haram  Area)  for  the  space  of  200  ells  (or  400  feet),  there  is  no 
building,  and  this  is  part  of  the  Court  (of  the  Haram  Area).  The 
Main-building  (of  the  Aksa  Mosque)f  is  very  large,  and  contains 
the  Maksurah  (or  space  railed-off  for  the  officials),  which  is  built 
against  the  South  Wall  (of  the  Haram  Area).  The  length  of  the 
western  side  of  the  Main-building  (of  the  Aksa)  measures 

*  Kuran,  ch.  xvii.,  ver.  I. 

t  In  Persian  Ptishtsh,  "covered  part,"  corresponding  with  the  Arabic  term 
Mughattd,  which  has  the  same  signification. 


420  cubits  (read  120  cubits),  and  the  width  of  it  is  150  cubits.* 
The  Aksa  Mosque  has  280  marble  columns,  supporting  arches  that 
are  fashioned  of  stone,  and  both  the  shafts  and  the  capitals 
are  riveted  with  lead,  so  that  nothing  can  be  more  firm. 
Between  the  (rows  of)  columns  measures  6  ells.  The  Mosque  is 
everywhere  flagged  with  coloured  marble,  and  the  joints  are 
riveted  in  lead.  The  Maksurah  (Plan,  C,  C)  is  facing  the 
centre  of  the  South  Wall  (of  the  Mosque),  and  is  of  such  size  as 
to  contain  sixteen  columns.  Above  rises  a  mighty  dome,  that 
is  ornamented  with  enamel-work,  after  the  fashion  to  be  seen 
in  other  parts  of  the  Noble  Sanctuary.  In  this  place  there  is 
spread  Maghribi  matting,  and  there  are  lamps  and  lanterns, 
each  suspended  by  its  separate  chain. 

"The  great  Mihrab  (or  prayer-niche  towards  Makkah,  Plan,  G) 
is  adorned  with  enamel-work  ;f  and  on  either  side  the  Mihrab  are 
two  columns  of  marble,  of  the  colour  of  red  cornelian.  The 
whole  of  the  low  wall  round  the  Maksurah  is  built  of  coloured 
marble.  To  the  right  (of  the  great  Mihrab)  is  the  Mihrab  of  (the 
Khalif )  Mu'awiyah  (Plan,  F),  and  to  the  left  is  the  Mihrab  of  (the 
Khalif )  'Omar  (Plan,  H) — May  Allah  grant  him  acceptance  !  The 
roof  of  the  (Aksa)  Mosque  is  constructed  of  wood,  beautifully 
sculptured.  Outside  the  doors  and  walls  of  the  Maksurah,  and 
in  the  parts  facing  (north  and  east)  towards  the  Court  (of  the 
Haram  Area),  are  fifteen  gateways,  each  of  which  is  closed  by  a 
finely-wrought  door,  measuring  10  ells  in  height  by  6  ells  in  the 
breadth.  Ten  of  these  doorways  open  in  the  (east)  wall  (of  the 
Mosque),  which  is  420  cubits  in  length  (read  120  cubits),  and 
there  are  five  in  the  width  (or  north  wall)  of  the  Mosque,  which 
measures  150  cubits  in  length.  Among  these  gates  there  is  one 

*  These  are  the  figures  in  the  British  Museum  MS.,  which  are  also  those  of 
M.  Schefer's  French  translation.  His  text,  however,  runs  as  follows,  and 
differs  both  from  his  translation  and  the  text  of  the  British  Museum  MS.:  "The 
main  building  of  the  (Aksa)  Mosque  is  very  large.  The  length  is  four  hundred 
and  eight  cubits,  and  the  MaksCirah  lies  to  the  right  hand,  against  the  South 
"Wall.  The  western  side  of  the  Main-building  measures  four  hundred  and  fifty 
cubits  in  the  width."  My  reasons  for  substituting  120  for  420  are  given  on 
p.  104. 

f  The  present  Mihrab  only  dates  from  the  time  of  Saladin  ;  see  p.  109. 





oooooooooooooooo  oooo 


O     O    O    O    O    O    O    O    O    O    O    O    O    OvO         II  O/O 

o    o 
o    ocooooooo    ooooo    o  lib"   o    oo 


o  ooooooooooo 'oooo  oooo 

ooooooooo  o  oooooo  oo  oo 


oooooo   oooooooooooooo   ooooooooo 


of  brass,  most  finely  wrought  and  beautiful ;  so  that  one  would 
say  it  was  of  gold,  set  in  with  fired  silver  (nieilo  ?),  and  chased.* 
The  name  of  the  Khalif  Al  Mainun  is  upon  it,  and  they  relate 
that  Al  Mamun  sent  it  from  Baghdad.!  When  all  these  gates  of 
the  Mosque  are  set  open,  the  interior  of  the  building  is  light, 
even  as  though  it  were  a  court  open  to  the  sky.  When  there  is 
wind  and  rain  they  close  these  gates,  and  then  the  light  comes 
from  the  windows  (above).  Along  all  the  four  sides  of  the  Main- 
building  (of  the  Aksa  Mosque)  are  chests  that  belong  each  one 
to  a  certain  city  of  Syria  and  'Irak,  and  near  these  the  Mujawiran 
(or  pilgrims  who  are  residing  for  a  time  in  the  Holy  City)  take 
their  seat,  even  as  is  done  in  the  Haram  Mosque  at  Makkah. 
May  Allah — be  He  glorified  ! — ennoble  the  same."  (N.  Kh., 


On  July  14,  1099,  the  Crusaders,  under  Godfrey  de  Bouillon, 
became  possessed  of  the  Holy  City.  The  Haram  Area  was  given 
over  to  the  Knights  of  the  recently-established  Order  of  the 
Temple,  who  derived  their  name  from  the  Dome  of  the  Rock, 
which  the  Crusaders  imagined  to  be  the  Temple  of  the  days  of 
Christ,  and  hence  named  Templum  Domini.  The  Aksa  Mosque, 
on  the  other  hand,  was  known  as  the  Palatium,  or  Templum 
Salomonis.  The  Templars  made  considerable  alterations  in  the 
Aksa  Mosque  and  the  adjoining  portions  of  the  Haram  Area,  but 
left  the  Dome  of  the  Rock  untouched.  On  the  west  of  the  Aksa, 
along  the  south  wall  of  the  Haram  Area,  they  built  their  armoury, 
on  the  site  occupied  by  the  colonnades  of  arches  described  by 
Nasir  (see  Chapter  V.).  In  the  substructions  of  the  south-east 
Angle  of  the  Haram  Area,  to  the  west  of  the  Cradle  of  Jesus,  they 
stabled  their  horses,  using  probably  either  the  ancient  "Triple 
Gate,"  or  the  "  Single  Gate  "  (see  Chapter  V.),  as  the  mode  of 
egress  from  these  vaults. 

The  Sicilian  geographer  Idrisi,  who  lived  at  King  Roger's  Court, 

*  The  Great  Brass  Gate  mentioned  by  Mukaddasi ;  see  p.  99,  Plan,  D. 

f  M.  Schefer  is,  I  believe,  incorrect  when  he  states  in  a  note  to  his  translation 
of  Nasir-i-Khusrau's  Sefer  Nameh  (p.  81,  n.  2)  that  this  inscription,  of  Al 
Mamun,  is  still  extant.  It  is  certainly  not  to  be  found  in  M.  de  Vogue's 
Jerusalem,  p.  86,  which  is  the  reference  given. 


has  left  the  following  short  notice  of  the  Aksa  Mosque  as  it  stood 
in  the  early  part  of  the  twelfth  century  A.D.  ;  but,  as  has  been 
before  stated  (p.  7),  it  seems  probable  that  Idrisi  had  never  him- 
self visited  Jerusalem,  and  he  must  therefore  have  derived  his  in- 
formation from  books  in  King  Roger's  library,  and  the  descriptions 
given  him  by  home-coming  pilgrims.  Idrisi  reports  as  follows  : 

"  On  leaving  the  Great  Church  (of  the  Resurrection),  and  going 
eastwards,  you  come  to  the  holy  house  built  by  Solomon,  the  son 
of  David.  This,  in  the  time  of  the  Jews,  was  a  mosque  (or  house 
of  prayer),  to  which  pilgrimage  was  made  ;  but  it  was  taken  out 
of  their  hands,  and  they  were  driven  from  thence.  And  when  the 
days  of  Islam  came,  under  the  kings  of  the  Muslims,  the  spot 
came  once  more  to  be  venerated  as  the  Masjid  al  Aksa.  ,  * 

"  The  Masjid  al  Aksa  is  the  Great  Mosque  (of  Jerusalem),  and  <j/ 
in  the  whole  earth  there  is  no  mosque  of  greater  dimensions  than 
this,  unless  it  be  the  Friday  Mosque  at  Cordova,  in  Andalusia, 
which  they  say  has  a  greater  extent  of  roof  than  has  the  Aksa, 
only  the  court  of  the  Aksa  Mosque  (or  Haram  Area)  is  certainly 
larger  than  is  that  of  the  mosque  at  Cordova.  (The  Haram  Area 
of)  the  Masjid  al  Aksa  is  four-sided;  its  length  measures  200 
fathoms  (&$'),  and  its  breadth  is  180  fathoms.  In  that  half  (of 
the  Haram  Area)  which  lies  (south)  towards  the  Mihrab  (or  prayer- 
niche)  is  (the  Main-building  of  the  Aksa  Mosque),  which  is  roofed 
with  domes  of  stone  set  on  many  rows  of  columns.  The  other 
half  (of  the  Haram  Area)  is  an  (open)  court,  and  is  not  roofed 
over.  The  gate  of  the  Dome  of  the  Rock  to  the  south  faces  the 
roofed-in  portion  (which  is  the  Main-building  of  the  Aksa),  which 
same  was  in  former  times  the  place  of  prayer  of  the  Muslims 
Since  (the  Holy  City)  was  conquered  by  the  Greeks  (that  is,  the 
Crusaders),  and  it  hath  remained  in  their  hands  even  down  to  the 
time  of  the  writing  of  this  book  (in  the  year  1154  A.D.),  they  have 
converted  this  roofed-in  portion  (which  is  the  Main-building  of  the 
Aksa  Mosque)  into  chambers,  wherein  are  lodged  those  companies 
of  men  known  as  Ad  Dawiyyah  (the  Templars),  whose  name 
signifies  Secants  of  God's  House"  (Id.,  7.) 

'AH  of  Herat,  our  next  authority,  writing  a  few  years  before 
Saladin's  reconquest  of  the  Holy  City,  after  noting  the  inscription 


set  up  by  the  Fatimite  Khalif  Adh  Dhahir  (see  p.  102),  gives 
some  details  of  the  dimensions  of  the  Aksa  Mosque,  which  dimen- 
sions agree  fairly  well  with  the  modern  measurements.  The 
"  pace "  he  uses  may  be  taken  as  approximately  30  inches,  and 
the  "  ell"  is  the  royal  ell  of  18  inches. 

Following  on  the  description  of  the  Cave  under  the  Rock,  'AH 
writes  : 

"  The  width  of  the  Riwak  (or  main  colonnade  of  the  Aksa 
Mosque?)  is  15  paces;  and  its  length,  from  south  to  north,  is 
94  paces  (or  235  feet).  The  height  of  the  Dome  of  the  Aksa  is 
60  ells  (90  feet),  and  its  circumference  is  96  ells  (that  is,  32  ells 
diameter,  or  48  feet).  The  perimetre  of  the  square  (under  the 
Dome)  is  160  ells  (each  side  being  40  ells,  or  60  feet).  The 
length  of  the  Aksa,  from  south  to  north,  is  148  ells  (or  222  feet)." 
(A.  H.,  Oxf.  MS.,  f.  39.) 

After  Saladin's  reconquest  of  the  Holy  City  in  1187,  the  whole 
of  the  Haram  Area  and  its  various  buildings  underwent  a  complete 
restoration.  The  account  given  in  the  Chronicle  of  Ibn  al  Athir 
of  what  was  especially  done  in  the  Aksa  Mosque  is  as  follows*  : 

"Events  of  the  year  583  (1187).— When  Saladin  had  taken 
possession  of  the  city  and  driven  out  the  infidels,  he  commanded 
that  the  buildings  should  be  put  back  to  their  ancient  usage.  Now 
the  Templars  had  built  to  the  west  of  the  Aksa  a  building  for 
their  habitation,  and  constructed  there  all  that  they  needed  of 
granaries,  and  also  latrines,  with  other  such  places,  and  they  had 
even  enclosed  a  part  of  the  Aksa  in  their  new  building.  Saladin 
commanded  that  all  this  should  be  set  back  to  its  former  state, 
and  he  ordered  that  the  Masjid  (or  Harem  Area)  should  be 
cleansed,  as  also  the  Rock,  from  all  the  filth  and  the  impurities 
that  were  there.  All  this  was  executed  as  he  commanded." 

Over  the  Great  Mihrab,  in  the  Aksa  Mosque,  may  still  be  read 
the  inscription  set  here  by  Saladin  after  this  restoration  was  com- 
pleted. The  Arabic  text  is  given  by  M.  de  Vogue*  in  Le  Temple 
de  Jerusalem,  p.  101.  The  translation  of  the  same  is  as  follows  : 

"/#  the  name  of  Allah  the  Compassionate,  the  Merciful !  Hath 
ordered  the  repair  of  this  holy  Mihrab,  and  the  restoration  of  the 
*  Ibn  al  Athir,  vol.  ix.,  p.  364. 


Aksa  Mosque — which  was  founded  in  piety — the  servant  of  Allah, 
and  His  regent,  Yusuf  ibn  Ayyub  Abu-l  Mudhaffar,  the  victorious 
king,  Salah  ad  Dunya  wa  ad  Din  (Saladin),  after  that  Allah  had 
conquered  (the  City)  by  his  hand  during  the  month  of  the  year  583. 
And  he  asketh  of  Allah  to  inspire  him  with  thankfulness  for  this 
favour,  and  to  make  him  a  partaker  of  the  remission  (of  sins),  through 
His  mercy  and  forgiveness" 

Subsequent  to  the  Muslim  reconquest  of  the  Holy  City,  the 
only  mention  made  by  the  historians  of  any  alterations  in  the  Aksa 
Mosque  are  those  noted  by  Mujir  ad  Din.  He  states  that  the 
south  wall  of  the  Haram  Area,  near  the  Mihrab  of  David,  was  re- 
built by  the  Mamluk  Sultan  of  Egypt,  Muhammad,  son  of  Kala'un, 
who  reigned  from  1310  to  1341.  The  same  Prince  also  ordered 
the  south  end  of  the  Aksa  to  be  lined  with  marble  slabs,  and 
caused  two  windows  to  be  pierced  there,  in  the  south  wall,  to  right 
and  to  left  of  the  Great  Mihrab.  (M.  a.  D.,  438.) 

After  the  times  of  Saladin  there  is  no  detailed  description  of 
the  dimensions  and  appearance  of  the  Aksa  Mosque  till  we  come 
to  that  written  by  Mujir  ad  Din  in  1496  ;  and  in  his  day  the 
Mosque  was  evidently  identical  with  the  one  we  now  see.  The 
present  Mosque  (exactly  like  that  described  in  1496)  has  seven 
gates  to  the  north,  and  only  one  to  the  east.  Two  other  gates, 
on  the  western  side,  lead  one  into  the  court,  and  one  into  what 
was,  in  Crusading  days,  the  Templars'  Armoury,  sometimes 
called  Bakd'at  al  Baida  (Plan,  F,  F'),  and  incorrectly  Al  Aksa  al 
Kadwiah  ('  the  Ancient  Aksa  '),  which  Mujir  ad  Din  names  '  the 
Women's  Mosque.'  Mujir  ad  Din's  description  is  as  follows  : 

"  The  Aksa  Mosque  measures  in  length  north  to  south,  from  the 
Great  Mihrab  to  the  threshold  of  the  Great  Gate  opposite  to  it, 
100  ells  of  the  workman's  ell  (D/iira  al  'Amal).  This  does  not 
include  the  bow  of  the  Mihrab,  nor  the  portico  outside  the  northern 
doors.  The  width  from  the  Eastern  Gate  (C) — through  which 
you  go  out  to  the  Cradle  of  Jesus — to  the  Western  Gate,  is  76  ells 
of  the  workman's  ell.*  The  Mosque  has  ten  gates  leading  out  to 
the  Court  of  the  Haram  Area.  Seven  are  to  the  north,  opening 

*  In  the  present  plan  these  lines  measure  230  feet  by  170,  giving  for  the 
workman's  ell  2-3  feet,  and  2*24  feet  — roughly,  z\  feet. 


CO      O 

*/    ~ 

VI      h 


f±,  ^ 


from  each  one  of  the  seven  aisles  of  the  Mosque.*  Then  there  is 
the  eastern  door  and  the  western  door,  and  the  door  leading  to 
the  building  known  as  the  Jami'  an  Nisa,  '  the  Mosque  of  the 
Women  '  (the  Templars'  Armoury,  Plan,  F,  F').  Now  from  the 
western  part  of  the  Aksa,  there  opens  this  great  hall,  called  Jami' 
an  Nisa.  It  has  a  double  aisle  running  east  and  west,  roofed 
by  ten  vaults,  supported  on  nine  piers,  very  solidly  built.  I 
learn  that  this  place  was  built  during  the  days  of  the  Fatimites." 
(M.a.  D,  367,  368.) 

The  last  assertion  is  presumably  in  error,  for  the  Templars' 
Armoury  does  not  date  from  Fatimite  days. 

Of  the  Mihrabs  in  the  Aksa  Mosque,  Suyuti  gives  the  following 
notes,  showing  that  in  his  day  (1470)  they  stood  exactly  as  they 
do  at  present : 

"  The  Mihrab  of  Zakariyya  (Zacharias). — Most  agree  that  it  is 
that  within  the  (Aksa)  Mosque  in  the  aisle  (riwak\  near  the 
eastern  door." 

In  the  Muslim  legend,  "Zacharias,  the  son  of  Barachias,  whom 
ye  slew  between  the  temple  and  the  altar"  (St.  Matth.  xxiv.  35), 
and  Zachariah,  the  son  of  Jehoiada,  the  priest  who  was  stoned 
with  stones  at  the  "commandment  of  the  king  in  the  court  of  the 
house  of  the  Lord"  (2  Chron.  xxiv.  22),  and  Zacharias,  the  father 
of  John  the  Baptist,  are  all  one  and  the  same  personage.  The 
Mihrab  Zakariyya  is  still  pointed  out  at  the  point  D  on  the  plan 
of  the  Aksa  Mosque. 

Suyuti  continues  : 

"The  Mihrab  of  Mu'awiyah. — This  is  said  to  be  the  beautiful 

Mihrab  which  is  at  the  present  time  enclosed  within  the  Maksurah 

(the  part  railed-off),  for  the  preacher  of  the  Khutbah  (or  Friday 

.sermon).     Between  it  and  the  great  Mihrab  comes  the  beautiful 

pulpit.     As  to  the  Mihrab  of  'Omar,  people  differ  which  this  may 

*  The  accompanying  illustration  of  the  north  front  and  portico  of  the  Aksa 
represents  the  building  as  it  stands  at  the  present  day.  The  gable  or  pitched 
roof  (called  Jamalan,  or  "  camel-backed "  in  Arabic),  covering  the  central 
nave,  is  here  shown.  This  form  of  roof,  according  to  Mukaddasi  (see  pp.  21 
and  99),  was  peculiar  to  the  Mosques  in  Syria  ;  in  other  countries  the  roofs  of 
the  Mosques  were  generally  flat  and  covered  with  a  coating  of  clay. 


be.  Some  say  it  is  the  great  Mihrab,  close  to  which  now  stands 
the  Noble  Pulpit,  and  fronting  the  Great  Gate,  through  which  you 
enter  the  Aksa  Mosque.  Others  say  that  the  Mihrab  of  'Omar  is 
the  one  in  the  eastern  aisle  of  the  Aksa  Mosque,  being  in  the 
(south)  wall  of  the  Mosque,  seeing  this  said  aisle,  with  its 
adjacent  parts,  is  called  the  Jami'  of  'Omar  (Plan,  E),  and  that 
this  is  the  very  place  which  he  cleared  of  filth,  he,  'Omar,  and 
those  who  were  with  him  of  the  Companions,  and  swept  clean 
before  they  prayed  thereon.  Whence  it  is  called  the  Jami'  of 
'Omar.  Most,  however,  are  of  the  opinion  before  mentioned, 
namely,  that  the  Mihrab  of  'Omar  is  the  great  Mihrab  near  the 
Mimbar,  or  Pulpit."  (3.,  264.) 

The  small  building  on  the  east  of  the  Aksa,  along  the  south 
boundary  wall,  known  at  the  present  day  as  the  Mosque  of  'Omar 
(Plan,  E),  and  here  referred  to,  is  of  comparatively  modern  con- 
struction, and  subsequent  to  the  days  of  Salad  in.  The  present 
building  lying  to  the  east  of  the  north  portico  and  gates  of  the 
Aksa,  called  the  Farisiyyah  (not  shown  on  the  plan  facing  p.  no), 
was  built  by  a  certain  Faris  ad  Din  Albki,  about  the  year  (755) 
1354.  (M.  a.  D.,  390.) 

The  question  now  arises  :  When  did  the  great  change  in  the 
plan  of  the  Aksa  Mosque  take  place  ? — from  the  many-columned 
Mosque  of  the  days  of  Nasir  (as  shown  in  the  plans  facing  pp.  99 
and  106)  to  the  comparatively  poor  building  described  by  Mujirad 
Din,  and  seen  at  the  present  day  ?  (the  plan  of  which  faces  p.  no). 

The  Arab  chroniclers  tell  us  nothing  very  definite  on  this  point, 
but  all  we  can  gather  from  various  sources  inclines  us  fully  to  agree 
with  Professor  Hayter-Lewis  in  thinking  that  the  great  alteration  in 
the  Mosque  must  have  been  made  shortly  after  the  Holy  City  had 
been  taken  by  Godfrey  de  Bouillon.  Mr.  Hayter-Lewis  writes  :* 

1  The  probability  is  that  the  Mosque  was  injured  in  the  capture 
of  the  town  by  the  Crusaders.  By  them  it  was  assigned  as  the 
residence  for  the  Templars  who  have  left  very  clear  traces  of  their 
occupation  of  the  Aksa ;  more  especially  at  the  southern  part, 
where  an  apse  to  the  south-east  chapel,  and  portions  of  a  richly- 
ornamented  arcade  to  the  south  wall,  are  very  evident.  Probably 

*   The  Holy  Places  of  Jerusalem,  by  T.  Hayter-Lewis,  F.S.A.,  p.  87. 


it  was  by  them  repaired  and  reconstructed  much  as  it  appears 
now,  except  that  when  Saladin  reconquered  the  city  he  restored  it 
to  its  original  purposes  of  a  Mosque,  uncovered  the  Mihrab,  which 
had  been  blocked  up  by  a  thick  wall,  as  is  stated  in  an  inscription 
by  him,  decorated  the  whole,  and  executed,  circa  1188,  the  work 
now  seen  in  the  transepts.' 

The  historical  data  given  by  the  Muslim  writers  would  certainly 
seem  to  corroborate  this  view.  Tracing  the  history  point  by  point 
backward,  we  find,  in  the  first  place,  that  the  Mosque,  as  it  now 
stands,  is  identical  with  that  described  by  Mujir  ad  Din  in  1496. 
Now  Mujir  ad  Din  devotes  some  pages  of  the  section  of  his  work 
on  the  topography  of  the  Holy  City  (pp.  432-447  of  the  Cairo 
text)  to  a  careful  enumeration  of  the  long  list  of  Mamluk  Sultans 
who  succeeded  to  the  throne  of  Saladin  (ending  with  the  Sultan  of 
his  own  days),  with  a  view  of  mentioning  the  various  monuments 
they  had  left  in  the  Haram  Area  and  Jerusalem ;  and  nowhere 
does  he  make  mention  of  any  extensive  alterations  having  been 
effected  by  the  Mamluk  Sultans  in  the  Aksa.  .  Further,  the 
description  given  in  the  chronicles  of  the  restorations  effected  by 
Saladin  in  the  Mosque  after  the  year  1187.  shows  that  the  Mosque, 
as  it  came  into  his  hands,  after  the  expulsion  of  the  Crusaders,  was 
in  all  essential  points  what  Mujir  ad  Din  described  in  1496,  and 
what  we  now  see.  From  1099  to  1187  the  Holy  City  was  in  the 
hands  of  the  Crusaders,  and  in  1047  we  have  Nasir-i-Khusrau's 
account  of  the  Aksa  when  he  visited  it — a  magnificent  building, 
double  the  width  of  the  present  Mosque,  with  two  hundred  and 
eighty  pillars  supporting  the  roof,  and  fifteen  aisles.  The  con- 
clusion can  only  be  that  it  was  during  the  occupation  of  the 
Crusaders  that  the  Mosque  was  reduced  from  its  original  grand 
proportions  to  the  narrow  limits  we  at  present  see.  This  conclu- 
sion is  confirmed  when  we  remember  that  the  Latins  considered 
the  Aksa  Mosque  to  hold  a  very  secondary  place  (while  the  Dome 
of  the  Rock  was  in  their  eyes  the  true  Templum  Domini) ;  hence 
that  the  Knights  Templars  had  no  compunction  in  remodelling 
probably  the  whole  building,  when  they  turned  part  of  the  Aksa 
into  a  church  for  the  order,  and  established  their  mainguard  and 
armoury  in  the  outlying  quarters  of  the  great  Mosque. 



THE    DOME    OF    THE    ROCK. 

In  remarkable  contrast  with  the  little  that  is  known  of  the  early 
architectural  history  of  the  Aksa  Mosque,  is  the  very  full  account 
given  by  the  Annalists  of  the  date  and  the  historical  incidents 
connected  with  the  foundation  of  the  Dome  over  the  Sacred  Rock. 
From  the  earliest  times,  also,  there  are  extant  such  detailed  descrip- 
tions of  this  beautiful  building,  that  it  may  be  affirmed,  almost 
certainly,  that  the  edifice  as  it  now  stands  in  the  nineteenth 
century,*  is  (in  regard  to  ground-plan  and  elevation)  substantially 
identical  with  that  which  the  Khalif  'Abd  al  Malik  erected  in  the 
year  691  (A.H.  72).  The  Cupola,  it  is  true,  has  on  many  occasions 
been  shattered  by  earthquakes,  and  the  walls  possibly  have  often 
been  damaged  and  repaired,  but  the  octagonal  ground-plan  and 
the  system  of  concentric  colonnades,  through  all  the  restorations 
have  remained  unaltered ;  and  even  to  the  number  of  the 
windows,  the  Dome  of  the  Rock,  as  described  in  A.D.  903  by 
Ibn  al  Fakih,  is  almost  exactly  similar  to  the  Kubbat  as  Sakhrah 
of  the  present  day. 

In  the  matter  of  the  Rock  which  the  Dome  is  intended  to 
cover,  it  must  be  remembered  that  this  was  held  sacred,  in  the 
eyes  of  Muslim  true  believers,  both  as  representing  the  ancient 
Kiblah  of  Moses— for  on  the  Rock  they  say  the  Ark  of  the 
Covenant  was  placed — and  as  the  first  Kiblah  in  Islam,  for  it 
was  only  in  the  month  of  Rajab  of  the  second  year  of  the  Flight 
that  the  revelation  came  to  Muhammad  telling  him  that  the 
Ka'abah  at  Makkah  was  for  all  future  times  to  be  the  sole 
Kiblah-point,  towards  which  his  followers  should  turn  their  faces 
in  prayer.  Further,  this  Rock  was  an  object  of  veneration  to 
the  True  Believer,  since,  according  to  the  received  tradition 
already  quoted  (p.  89),  their  Prophet  had  from  this  Rock 
ascended  into  Paradise,  and  returned  again  to  earth  at  this  spot, 
after  beholding  the  presence  of  Allah.  That  the  Rock  was  a 
sacred  rock  to  all  Muslims,  it  is  all  important  to  remember,  in 
view  of  the  events  which  induced  'Abd  al  Malik  to  erect  the  great 
Dome  above  it.  Before  quoting  the  accounts  of  this  event  given 

*  See  frontispiece. 


in  the  Arab  Chronicles,  it  may  be  well  to  borrow  a  few  lines 
from  a  work  written  by  the  late  Professor  E.  H.  Palmer,  which 
portray  the  condition  of  the  Omayyad  Khalifate  at  the  period 
when  the  Dome  of  the  Rock  was  built  : 

'  In  A.D.  684,  in  the  reign  of  'Abd  al  Malik,  the  ninth  successor 
of  Muhammad,  and  the  fifth  Khalif  of  the  house  of  Omayyah, 
events  happened  which  once  more  turned  people's  attention  to  the 
City  of  David.  For  eight  years  the  Muslim  Empire  had  been 
distracted  by  factions  and  party  quarrels.  The  inhabitants  of  the 
two  Holy  Cities,  Makkah  and  Al  Madinah,  had  risen  against  the 
authority  of  the  legitimate  Khalifs,  and  had  proclaimed  'Abd 
Allah  ibn  Zubair  their  spiritual  and  temporal  head.  The  Khalifs 
Yazid  and  Mu'awiyah  had  in  vain  attempted  to  suppress  the  insur- 
rection ;  the  usurper  had  contrived  to  make  his  authority  acknow- 
ledged throughout  Arabia  and  the  African  provinces,  and  had 
established  the  seat  of  his  government  at  Makkah  itself.  'Abd  al 
Malik  trembled  for  his  own  rule ;  year  after  year  crowds  of 
pilgrims  would  visit  the  Ka'abah,  and  Ibn  Zubair's  religious  and 
political  influence  would  thus  become  disseminated  throughout  the 
whole  of  Islam.  In  order  to  avoid  these  consequences,  and 
at  the  same  time  to  weaken  his  rival's  prestige,  'Abd  al  Malik 
conceived  the  plan  of  diverting  men's  minds  from  the  pilgrimage 
to  Makkah,  and  inducing  them  to  make  the  pilgrimage  to  Jerusalem 

Ya'kubi,  one  of  the  earliest  of  the  Muslim  historians,  writing 
of  the  events  which  came  to  pass  in  'Abd  al  Malik's  days,  gives  a 
very  clear  account  of  how  that  Khalif,  for  the  political  reason  just 
mentioned,  attempted  to  make  the  True  Believers  circumambulate 
the  Rock  at  Jerusalem,  in  place  of  the  Black  Stone  in  the  Ka'abah 
at  Makkah.  Had  the  attempt  succeeded,  the  Khalif  would  thereby 
have  instituted  annual  rites  of  pilgrimage  in  Jerusalem  on  the 
pattern  of  those  which,  since  the  Prophet's  days,  had  been  per- 
formed in  the  Makkah  Haram  ;  and  the  golden  stream  of  pilgrim 
offerings  and  fees  would  have  flowed  into  'Abd  al  Malik's  treasury, 
instead  of  into  the  pockets  of  the  inhabitants  of  Makkah,  who 

*  Jerusalem  the  City  of  Herod  and  Saladin,  by  W.  Besant  and  E.  H.  Palmer, 
1871,  p.  78. 



were  at  this  time  supporting  the  claims  of  his  rival,  Ibn  Zubair, 
to  the  Khalifate.  Had  'Abd  al  Malik's  attempt  succeeded,  it  is  a 
question  whether  Jerusalem  might  not  then  have  become  the 
capital  of  the  Omayyads,  in  place  of  Damascus.  As  events 
turned  out,  the  Khalif  failed  to  divert  the  Muslim  pilgrimage  to 
the  Holy  City  of  Palestine,  and  Makkah  did  not  lose  its  pre: 
eminence  as  the  religious  centre  of  Islam,  even  when  Ibn  Zubair 
was  defeated  and  slain,  and  Damascus  was  made  the  seat  of  the 
Omayyad  Khalifate.  To  return,  however,  to  the  historian  Ya'kiibi. 
The  passage  of  his  writings  relating  to  the  building  of  the  Dome 
of  the  Rock  is  the  following  : 

"  Then  'Abd  al  Malik  forbade  the  people  of  Syria  to  make  the 
pilgrimage  (to  Makkah) ;  and  this  by  reason  that  'Abd  Allah  ibn 
az  Zubair  was  wont  to  seize  on  them  during  the  time  of  the 
pilgrimage,  and  force  them  to  pay  him  allegiance — which,  'Abd  al 
Malik  having  knowledge  of,  forbade  the  people  to  journey  forth  to 
Makkah.  But  the  people  murmured  thereat,  saying,  '  How  dost 
thou  forbid  us  to  make  the  pilgrimage  to  Allah's  house,  seeing 
that  the  same  is  a  commandment  of  Allah  upon  us  ?'  But  the 
Khalif  answered  them,  *  Hath  not  Ibn  Shihab  az  Zuhri*  told  you 
how  the  Apostle  of  Allah  did  say  :  Men  shall  journey  to  but  three 
Masjids  (mosques,  namely],  Al  Masjid  Haram  (at  Makkah},  my 
Masjid  (at  Madinah] ,  and  the  Masjid  of  the  Holy  City  (which  is 
Jerusalem]  ?  So  this  last  is  now  appointed  for  you  (as  a  place  of 
worship)  in  lieu  of  the  Masjid  al  Haram  (of  Makkah).  And  this 
Rock  (the  Sakhrah  of  Jerusalem),  of  which  it  is  reported  that 
upon  it  the  Apostle  of  Allah  set  his  foot  when  he  ascended  into 
heaven,  shall  be  unto  you  in  the  place  of  the  Ka'abah.'  Then 
'Abd  al  Malik  built  above  the  Sakhrah  a  Dome,  and  hung  it 
around  with  curtains  of  brocade,  and  he  instituted  doorkeepers 
for  the  same,  and  the  people  took  the  custom  of  circumambulating 
the  Rock  (as  Sakhrah  of  Jerusalem),  even  as  they  had  paced 
round  the  Ka'abah  (at  Makkah),  and  the  usage  continued  thus  all 
the  days  of  the  dynasty  of  the  Omayyads."  (Yb.  Hist.,  ii.  u.) 

*  A  celebrated  traditionist,  who  was  personally  acquainted  with  many  of  the 
Prophet's  Companions.  He  died  in  124  (742),  being  seventy-two  or  more 
years  old.  His  life  is  given  by  Ibn  Khallikan,  Biographical  Dictionaryt  De 
Slane's  Translation,  vol.  ii.,  p.  581. 


The  above  account,  of  itself,  is  sufficient  to  disprove  the  theory 
very  skilfully  argued  by  the  late  Mr.  Fergusson,  of  which  the 
cardinal  idea  was  that  this  Dome  of  the  Rock  (and  not  the 
Church  of  the  Sepulchre)  represents  and  stands  in  the  place  of 
the  (ireat  Church  erected  by  Constantine,  over  our  Lord's  tomb. 
Mr.  Fergusson  stated  that  he  based  his  theory  on  historical  data, 
as  well  as  on  arguments  drawn  from  the  architectural  style  of  the 
building  (which  in  his  eyes  was  purely  Byzantine),  and  he  roundly 
asserted  that  "  no  Mohammedan  writer  of  any  sort,  anterior  to 
the  recovery  of  the  city  from  the  Christians  by  Saladin,  ventures 
to  assert  that  his  countrymen  built  the  Dome  of  the  Rock,"*  a 
statement  which  can  no  longer  stand,  in  view  of  the  authority  here 

Mukaddasi,  who  wrote  in  the  year  985,  gives  another  version 
of  the  reasons  which  induced  'Abd  al  Malik  to  build  the  Dome 
over  the  Rock,  which  it  may  be  well  to  quote  at  the  present  point. 
The  paragraph  occurs  after  the  description  of  the  Great  Mosque 
at  Damascus,  which  will  be  given  later  on  (see  Chapter  VI.). 
Mukaddasi  then  continues  : 

"  Now  one  day  I  said,  speaking  to  my  father's  brother,  *  O  my 
uncle,  verily  it  was  not  well  of  the  Khalif  al  Walid  to  expend  so 
much  of  the  wealth  of  the  Muslims  on  the  Mosque  at  Damascus. 
Had  he  expended  the  same  on  making  roads,  or  for  caravanserais, 
or  in  the  restoration  of  the  Frontier  Fortresses,  it  would  have  been 
more  fitting  and  more  excellent  of  him.'  But  my  uncle  said  to 
me  in  answer,  '  O  my  little  son,  thou  hast  not  understanding  ! 
Verily  Al  Walid  was  right,  and  he  was  prompted  to  a  worthy  work. 
For  he  beheld  Syria  to  be  a  country  that  had  long  been  occupied 
by  the  Christians,  and  he  noted  herein  the  beautiful  churches  still 
belonging  to  them,  so  enchantingly  fair,  and  so  renowned  for  their 
splendour,  even  as  are  the  Rumanian  (the  Church  of  the  Holy 
Sepulchre  at  Jerusalem),  and  the  churches  of  Lydda  and  Edessa. 
So  he  sought  to  build  for  the  Muslims  a  mosque  that  should 
prevent  their  regarding  these,  and  that  should  be  unique  and  a 
wonder  to  the  world.  And  in  like  manner  is  it  not  evident  how 

*  See  his  article  on  Jerusalem   in   Dr.  Smith's  "  Dictionary  of  the  Bible,'' 
vol.  i.,  p.  1030. 


the  Khalif  'Abd  al  Malik,  noting  the  greatness  of  the  Dome  of  the 
(Holy  Sepulchre  called)  Al  Kumamah  and  its  magnificence,  was 
moved  lest  it  should  dazzle  the  minds  of  the  Muslims,  and  hence 
erected  above  the  Rock,  the  Dome  which  now  is  seen  there  ?'  "* 
(Muk,  159.) 

That  the  Khalif  'Abd  al  Malik  was  the  builder  of  the  Dome  of 
the  Rock  is  further  confirmed  by  the  well-known  inscription 
which  may  still  be  read  above  the  cornice  of  the  octagonal  colon- 
nade supporting  the  Cupola.  Running  round  this  is  a  magnificent 
Cufic  script,  in  yellow  on  blue  tiles,  which  must  have  been  placed 
here  by  'Abd  al  Malik  at  the  time  when  his  building  was  com- 
pleted. It  is  dated  A.H.  72  (691).  Unfortunately,  some  of  the 
tiles  were  apparently  taken  out  about  a  century  and  a  half  later 
when,  in  the  days  of  the  Khalif  al  Mamun,  son  of  Harun  ar 
Rashid,  the  Dome  underwent  restoration,  and  in  their  place  other 
tiles,  but  of  a  darker  blue,  have  been  substituted,  bearing  the 
name  of  Al  Mamun  in  place  of  that  of  'Abd  al  Malik.  This 
fraudulent  substitution,  or  forgery,  perpetrated  presumably  by  the 
courtly  architect  of  the  Abbasides,  stands,  however,  self-confessed 
— by  the  forgers  having  omitted  to  alter  the  date  of  'Abd  al 
Malik's  reign,  that  is,  the  year  72  A.H.  Al  Mamun,  whose  name 
they  have  substituted  immediately  before  this  date,  was  only  born 
in  A.H.  170,  and  was  Khalif  from  A.H.  198 — 218.  Also,  as  noted 
above,  the  colouring  of  the  newer  tiles  is  of  a  darker  tint,  which 
does  not  correspond  with  the  blue  of  the  earlier  tiles.  Further, 
the  inserted  letters  (of  Al  Mamun's  name  and  titles),  being  too 
numerous  for  the  space  at  command,  have  had  to  be  closer  set 
than  are  those  in  the  original  portions  of  the  inscription.  To 
make  all  this  as  clear  as  is  possible  to  the  English  reader,  the 
following  translation  of  the  inscription  is  printed  in  capitals  to 
represent  the  square  Cufic  script.  In  this  the  three  lines  give  the 
words  as  they  stand  at  the  present  day.  The  letters  placed  closer 
together  represent  the  forged  part  of  the  inscription  in  the  Arabic, 
much  crowded  as  to  space,  and  written  on  the  darker  tiles.  These 
have  been  substituted  by  the  architects  of  Al  Mamun.  The  letters 

*  See  also  p.  98,  where  Mukaddasi  speaks  again  of  the  Church  of  the  Holy 
Sepulchre,  and  of  the  Aksa  having  been  built  to  rival  this  in  magnificence. 


added  below  the  second  line  indicate  the  inscription  that  probably 
stood  in  the  place  of  these  substituted  tiles,  the  letters  of  'Abd  al 
Malik's  name  being  spaced  out  to  bring  them  even  with  those  in 
the  remainder  of  the  inscription.* 


DAL      MALIK     C 

Another  dated  inscription  has  also  been  discovered  in  the  Dome 
of  the  Rock,  stamped  on  each  of  the  bronze  plates  which  are 
attached  to  the  lintels  above  the  four  outer  doors  facing  the  car- 
dinal points  of  the  octagonal  building.  The  date  given  is  2i6A.H., 
corresponding  to  831  A.D.  These  are  also  written  in  a  fine  Cufic 
script,  and  relate,  in  all  probability,  to  the  very  restoration  under 
Al  Mamun's  orders,  during  which  the  falsification  just  described  of 
'Abd  al  Malik's  great  tile-inscription  was  perpetrated.  The  inscrip- 
tion on  the  plates  may  be  translated  as  follows  :t 

"  According  to  what  hath  commanded  the  servant  of  Allah  *  Abd 
Allah,  the  Imam  Al  Mamun,  the  Commander  of  the  Faithful — may 
Allah  prolong  his  existence  ! — and  under  the  governorship  of  the 
brother  of  the  Commander  of  the  Faithful,  Abu  Ishak,  the  son  of  the 
Commander  of  the  Faithful  Ar  Rashid — may  Allah  lengthen  his 
(Abu  Ishak's)  life!  And  it  hath  been  accomplished  at  the  hands  of 
Salih  ibn  Ya/iya,  Freedman  of  the  Commander  of  the  Faithful,  in 
the  month  Rabi"1  al  Akhir  of  the  year  two  hundred  and  sixteen" 

Al  Mamun  reigned  from  813  (198)  to  833  (218),  when  he  was 
succeeded  by  the  brother  here  mentioned,  Abu  Ishak,  who,  on 
becoming  Khalif,  took  the  name  of  Al  Mu'tasim.  Abu  Ishak  lived 
on  excellent  terms  with  his  brother,  the  Khalif  Al  Mamun,  and, 

*  A  beautiful  chromo-lithographic  facsimile  of  the  original  Cufic  text  of  this 
inscription  is  given  by  M.  de  Vogue  on  plate  xxi.  of  his  work  Le  Temple  de 
Jerusalem.  It  is  also  printed  (in  the  Cufic  Character)  on  p.  88  of  the  volume 
on  Jerusalem,  published  by  the  Palestine  Exploration  Fund.  A  lithographic 
facsimile  may  also  be  seen  on  the  plate  facing  p.  484  of  \h&  Journal  A  siatique, 
vol.  ix.,  Huitieme  Serie,  1887. 

t  The  text  is  given  by  M.  de  Vogue,  Jerusalem,  p.  86. 


during  the  very  year  given  in  the  inscription,  the  Chronicles* 
relate  that  he  commanded  a  body  of  troops  in  Al  Mamun's  expe- 
dition against  the  Greeks,  and  afterwards  came  with  the  Khalif  to 
visit  Damascus.  It  is  not,  however,  stated  that  he  was  at  that 
time  Governor  of  Syria  (as  the  inscription  rather  implies),  but  he 
was,  probably,  already  the  recognised  heir-apparent,  and,  as  such, 
doubtless,  his  name  appears  on  these  lintels. 

The  earliest  detailed  description  of  the  Dome  of  the  Rock,  is 
that  left  us  by  Ibn  al  Fakih  in  the  year  903  (290).  As  will  be  seen 
from  the  Plan  of  the  Haram  Area  (at  the  end  of  Chapter  IV. ),  the 
octagonal  building  supporting  the  Dome  stands  at  about  the  centre- 
point  of  a  square-shaped  platform.  This  platform  is  of  a  man's 
height  above  the  general  level  of  the  court  of  the  Haram  Area,  and 
is  ascended  by  stairways.  On  the  platform,  besides  the  Dome  of 
the  Rock,  stand  several  other  very  much  smaller  Domes.  The  de- 
scription of  these  will  be  given  in  more  detail  at  a  later  page. 
(See  Chapter  IV.) 

Ibn  al  Fakih  speaks  of  all  these  edifices  in  the  following  terms  : 
"  In  the  middle  of  the  Haram  Area  is  a  platform,  measuring  300 
ells  in  length,  by  140  ells  across,  and  its  height  is  9  ells.  It  has 
six  flights  of  stairways,  leading  up  to  the  Dome  of  the  Rock.  The 
Dome  rises  in  the  middle  of  this  platform.  The  ground-plan  of 
the  same  measures  100  ells  by  100,  its  height  is  70  ells,  and  its 
circumference  is  360  ells.  In  the  Dome  every  night  they  light 
300  lamps.  It  has  four  gates  roofed  over,  and  at  each  gate  are 
four  doors,  and  over  each  gate  is  a  portico  of  marble.  The  stone 
of  the  Rock  measures  34  ells  by  27  ells,  and  under  the  Rock  is  a 
cavern  in  which  the  people  pray.  This  cavern  is  capable  of  con- 
taining sixty-two  persons.  (The  edifice  of)  the  Dome  is  covered 
with  white  marble,  and  its  roof  with  red  gold.  In  its  walls,  and 
high  in  (the  drum),  are  fifty-six  windows  (bab\  glazed  with  glass  of 
various  hues ;  each  measures  6  ells  in  the  height,  by  6  spans 
across.  The  Dome,  which  was  built  by  'Abd  al  Malik  ibn 
Marwan  is  supported  on  twelve  piers  and  thirty  pillars.  It  con- 
sists of  a  dome  over  a  dome  (that  is,  an  inner  and  an  outer),  on 
which  are  sheets  of  lead  and  white  marble  (below). 

*  Ibn  al  Athir,  vi.  295. 


"  To  the  east  of  the  Dome  of  the  Rock  stands  the  Dome  of 
the  Chain.  It  is  supported  by  twenty  marble  columns,  and  its 
roof  is  covered  with  sheets  of  lead.  In  front  of  it  (again  to  the 
east),  is  the  Praying  Station  of  Al  Khidr  (St.  George  or  Elias). 
The  platform  occupies  the  middle  of  the  Haram  Area.  To  the 
north  is  the  Dome  of  the  Prophet,  and  the  Station  of  Gabriel ; 
near  the  Rock  is  the  Dome  of  the  Ascension."  (I.  F.,  100,  101.) 

With  this  description  of  the  year  903,  the  Dome  of  the  Rock  as 
it  now  stands,  tallies  to  a  remarkable  degree.  The  ell  then  in  use 
was  that  known  as  the  Dhire!  Maliki,  or  royal  ell,  which  may 
be  estimated  as  approximately  equivalent  to  18  inches.  The 
perimeter  of  the  octagonal  walls  stated  at  360  ells,  gives  45  ells, 
or  67^  feet  for  the  length  of  each  face  of  the  octagon  ;  the  measure- 
ment to  day  is  66  feet. 

The  measurement  of  100  ells  by  the  like,  for  the  ground-plan, 
corresponds  fairly  well  also,  since  the  space  between  the  thresholds 
of  the  opposite  doors,  north  and  south,  or  east  and  west,  measures 
almost  exactly  150  feet. 

The  height,  given  at  70  ells,  or  105  feet,  shows  that  the  Dome 
was  in  these  early  times  of  much  the  same  height  as  is  the  present 
one,  built  after  the  earthquakes,  which  measures  112  feet  from 
floor  to  pinnacle.  The  four  gates  and  their  porticos  are  exactly 
what  is  found  at  the  present  day,  as  also  is  the  Rock  itself  and  the 
Cavern  below  it.  A  more  remarkable  coincidence  is  afforded  by 
the  number  of  the  windows  mentioned  by  Ibn  al  Fakih.  In  the 
present  edifice  there  are  sixteen  stained-glass  windows,  pierced  in 
the  drum  under  the  Dome,  and  below  this  are  five  openings  in 
each  of  the  eight  side  walls  forming  the  octagon.  This  (5  times  8 
added  to  16)  gives  fifty-six  for  total,  the  exact  number  mentioned 
by  Ibn  al  Fakih  as  existing  in  the  year  903. 

In  the  matter  of  the  columns  supporting  the  Dome,  some  change 
in  the  number  and  arrangement  appears  to  have  taken  place  at 
various  times  since  the  year  903,  probably  during  the  many 
restorations  after  the  shocks  of  earthquake. 

The  twelve  piers  mentioned  still  exist  as  described  by  Ibn  al 
Fakih,  a  reference  to  the  present  plan  (facing  p.  114)  showing  four 
piers  in  the  inner  circle  supporting  the  Dome,  and  eight  in  the  outer 


circle  marking  the  angles  of  the  octagon.  The  number  of  the 
minor  pillars,  however,  is  not  so  exact.  At  the  present  day  there 
are  three  pillars  between  each  of  the  four  piers  of  the  inner  circle, 
and  two  pillars  between  each  of  the  eight  piers  of  the  outer  circle. 
This  gives  a  total  for  the  present  pillars  of  twenty-eight,  and  Ibn 
al  Fakih  says  there  were  thirty  in  his  day.  The  difference, 
however,  is  not  very  material. 

On  this  subject  of  the  number  of  the  piers  and  pillars,  it  may  be 
well  to  note  the  details  given  by  the  Spanish  Arab  Ibn  'Abd  Rabbih, 
who  wrote  about  this  same  period  (circa  A.M.  300,  A.D.  913).  He 
states  that  "  within  the  Sakhrah  (or  Dome  of  the  Rock)  are  thirty 
columns,  and  the  columns  which  are  without  (khdrij,  presumably 
meaning  'round  ')  the  Sakhrah  (or  Rock) are  eighteen  in  number." 
There  is,  however,  some  ambiguity  in  the  term  khdrij,  and  the 
numbers  agree  neither  with  those  given  by  Ibn  al  Fakih,  his 
contemporary,  nor  with  those  seen  at  the  present  day,  as  shown  in 
the  plan  (facing  p.  114). 

The  dimensions  Ibn  al  Fakih  gives  for  the  Platform,  and 
his  description  of  the  other  minor  Domes  standing  on  this  Plat- 
form, will  be  noticed  on  a  subsequent  page.  (See  Chapter  IV.) 

Next  in  order  comes  the  account  of  the  Dome  of  the  Rock  left 
by  Istakhri  and  Ibn  Haukal,  three-quarters  of  a  century  after 
the  time  of  Ibn  al  Fakih.  This  description  of  the  year  978  has 
been  copied  verbatim  by  the  geographer  Abu-1-Fida  in  his  account 
of  Palestine  written  in  1321;  and  it  maybe  cited  as  an  instance  of 
the  uncritical  way  in  which  Arab  writers  plagiarise  each  from  his 
predecessors.  Ibn  Haukal  and  Istakhri  write  : 

"  The  Holy  City  is  nearly  as  large  at  Al  Ramlah  (the  capital  of 
the  province  of  Filastin).  It  is  a  city  perched  high  on  the  hills, 
and  you  have  to  go  up  to  it  from  all  sides.  There  is  here  a 
Mosque,  a  greater  than  which  does  not  exist  in  all  Islam. 
The  Main-building  (which  is  the  Aksa  Mosque)  occupies  the 
south-eastern  angle  of  the  Mosque  (Area,  or  Noble  Sanctuary), 
and  covers  about  half  the  breadth  of  the  same.  The  remainder 
of  the  Haram  Area  is  left  free,  and  is  nowhere  built  over,  except 
in  the  part  around  the  Rock.  At  this  place  there  has  been  raised 
a  stone  (terrace)  like  a  platform,  of  great  unhewn  blocks,  in 


the  centre  of  which,  covering  the  Rock,  is  a  magnificent  Dome. 
The  Rock  itself  is  about  breast-high  above  the  ground,  its  length 
and  breadth  being  almost  equal,  that  is  to  say,  some  10  ells* 
and  odd,  by  the  same  across.  You  may  descend  below  it  by 
steps,  as  though  going  down  to  a  cellar,  passing  through  a 
door  measuring  some  5  ells  by  10.  The  chamber  below  the 
Rock  is  neither  square  nor  round,  and  is  above  a  man's  stature 
in  height."  (Is.,  56;  I.  H.,  in  ;  A.  F.,  227.) 

Mukaddasi,  a  native  of  Jerusalem,  whose  account  (985)  dates 
from  a  few  years  later  than  the  above  by  Ibn  Haukal,  taken  with 
that  left  by  the  Persian  traveller  Nasir,  who  visited  the  Holy  City 
in  1047,  gives  us  a  detailed  and  graphic  picture  of  the  Dome  of 
the  Rock  in  the  century  preceding  the  arrival  of  the  first  Crusaders. 
Mukaddasi,  immediately  after  the  description  of  the  Aksa  Mosque 
quoted  above  (pp.  98,  99),  writes  as  follows : 

"The  Court  (of  the  Haram  Area)  is  paved  in  all  parts;  in 
its  centre  rises  a  Platform,  like  that  in  the  Mosque  at  Al  Madinah, 
to  which,  from  all  four  sides,  ascend  broad  flights  of  steps. 
On  this  Platform  stand  four  Domes.  Of  these,  the  Dome  of  the 
Chain,  the  Dome  of  the  Ascension,  and  the  Dome  of  the 
Prophet  are  of  small  size.  Their  domes  are  covered  with  sheet- 
lead,  and  are  supported  on  marble  pillars,  being  without  walls. 

"In  the  centre  of  the  Platform  is  the  Dome  of  the  Rock,  which 
rises  above  an  octagonal  building  having  four  gates,  one  opposite 
to  each  of  the  flights  of  steps  leading  up  from  the  Court.  These 
four  are  the  Kiblah  (or  southern)  Gate ;  the  Gate  of  (the  Angel) 
Israfil  (to  the  east) ;  the  Gate  As  Sur  (or  of  the  Trumpet),  to  the 
north ;  and  the  Women's  Gate  (Bab  an  Nisa),  which  last  opens 
towards  the  west.  All  these  are  adorned  with  gold,  and  closing 
each  of  them  is  a  beautiful  door  of  cedar-wood  finely  worked 
in  patterns.  These  last  were  sent  hither  by  command  of  the 
mother  of  the  Khalif  Al  Muktadir-billah.  f  Over  each  of  the 
gates  is  a  porch  of  marble,  wrought  with  cedar-wood,  with  brass- 
work  without ;  and  in  this  porch,  likewise,  are  doors,  but  these  are 

*  Too  low  an  estimate. 

f  He  reigned  at  Baghdad,  908  to  932. 


"Within  the  building  are  three  concentric  colonnades,  with 
columns  of  the  most  beautiful  marble,  polished,  that  can  be  seen, 
and  above  is  a  low  vaulting.  Inside  these  (colonnades)  is  the 
central  hall  over  the  Rock ;  it  is  circular,  not  octagonal,  and  is 
surrounded  by  columns  of  polished  marble  supporting  circular 
arches.  Built  above  these,  and  rising  high  into  the  air,  is  the 
drum,  in  which  are  large  windows  ;  and  over  the  drum  is  the 
Dome.  The  Dome,  from  the  floor  up  to  the  pinnacle,  which  rises 
into  the  air,  is  in  height  100  ells.  From  afar  off  you  may  perceive 
on  the  summit  of  the  Dome  the  beautiful  pinnacle  (set  thereon), 
the  size  of  which  is  a  fathom  and  a  span.  The  Dome,  externally, 
is  completely  covered  with  brass  plates  gilt,  while  the  building 
itself,  its  floor,  and  its  walls,  and  the  drum,  both  within  and  with- 
out, are  ornamented  with  marble  and  mosaics,  after  the  manner  that 
we  shall  describe*  when  speaking  of  the  Mosque  of  Damascus. 
The  Cupola  of  the  Dome  is  built  in  three  sections ;  the  inner  is  of 
ornamental  panels.  Next  come  iron  beams  interlaced,  set  in  free, 
so  that  the  wind  may  not  cause  the  Cupola  to  shift ;  and  the  third 
casing  is  of  wood,  on  which  are  fixed  the  outer  plates.  Up 
through  the  middle  of  the  Cupola  goes  a  passage-way,  by  which  a 
workman  may  ascend  to  the  pinnacle  for  aught  that  may  be  wanting, 
or  in  order  to  repair  the  structure.  At  the  dawn,  when  the  light 
of  the  sun  first  strikes  on  the  Cupola,  and  the  Drum  reflects 
his  rays,  then  is  this  edifice  a  marvellous  sight  to  behold,  and  one 
such  that  in  all  Islam  I  have  never  seen  the  equal ;  neither  have  I 
heard  tell  of  aught  built  in  pagan  times  that  could  rival  in  grace 
this  Dome  of  the  Rock."  (Muk.,  169,  170.) 

Between  the  times  of  Mukaddasi  and  Nasir,  the  Holy  City 
suffered  severely  from  shocks  of  earthquake,  as  reported  in  the 
Chronicle  of  Ibn  al  Athir  (see  above,  p.  101),  and  in  the  year  1016 
(407),  as  there  stated,  the  Dome  over  the  Rock  fell  in.  The  dates 
of  the  repairs  subsequently  undertaken  are  recorded  by  two  extant 
inscriptions  in  the  Cupola,  the  first  of  which  is  of  a  tenor  that 
recalls  the  one  that  was  read  and  copied  in  the  Dome  of  the 
Aksa  Mosque  by  'Ali  of  Herat  (see  above,  p.  102). 

The  Holy  City  had  since  the  year  969  been  in  the  possession  of 
*  See  Chapter  VI. 


the  Khalif  of  Cairo,  and  it  was  the  Fatimite  Adh  Dhahir  who 
ordered  the  restorations  which  were  completed  in  1022  (413)  and 
1027  (418),  and  which  are  referred  to  in  the  two  following 

The  first  is  written  in  the  ancient  Karmatic  characters,  and  is  to 
be  seen  on  a  beam  in  the  framework  of  the  Dome.  M.  de  Vogue 
has  given  a  facsimile  of  this  inscription  on  plate  xxxvii.  of  his 
work,  Le  Temple  de  Jerusalem.  The  following  is  a  translation  : 

"  In  the  name  of  Allah,  the  Compassionate,  the  Merciful.  Verily 
he  who  believeth  in  Allah  restoreth  the  Mosques  of  Allah.  Hath 
commanded  the  restoration  of  this  Dome,  the  Imam  Abu-l-Hasan 
'Ali  adh  DJiahir-li-Izaz-ad-Din- Allah,  the  son  of  Al  Hakim-bi-Amr- 
Illah,  Commander  of  the  Faithful— the  benediction  of  Allah  be  upon 
him,  and  on  his  most  pure  and  generous  forefathers  !  This  was 
executed  at  the  hand  of  his  servant  ihe  Amir,  the  supporter  of  the 
Imams,  the  sustainer  of  the  State,  'Alt  ibn  Ahmad  Inabat  Allah,  in 
the  year  413  (A.D.  1022).  May  Allah  perpetuate  the  glory  and  tJic 
stability  of  our  Master,  the  Commander  of  the  Faithful,  giving  him 
kingship  over  the  east  and  the  west  of  the  earth,  for  Him  we  praise 
at  the  beginning  and  the  ending  of  all  actions  /" 

The  second  inscription  is  to  be  seen  inside  the  Dome  of  the 
Rock  on  the  tile-work.  It  is  unfortunately  much  mutilated,  but 
the  last  few  words  are  plainly  legible.  M.  de  Vogue  (Jerusalem, 
Plate  xxiii.)  has  reproduced  it  in  chromolithograph.  The  letters 
are  yellow  on  the  dark  green  ground  of  the  enamelled  tile.  The 
last  words  may  be  translated  : 

".  .  .  .  in  the  year  four  hundred  and  eighteen." 

A.M.  418  corresponds  with  A.D.  1027,  which  would  lead  us  to 
suppose  that  these  tiles  were  put  up  to  replace  those  damaged 
by  the  earthquakes. 

Nasir-i-Khusrau's  account,  describing  what  he  saw  during  his 
visit  to  Jerusalem  in  1047,  is  the  last  we  possess  prior  to  the 
Crusades.  It  must  be  noted  that  the  "cubit,"  or  "  ell  "(as  the 
Persian  measures  Arsh  and  Gez  are  here  rendered),  is  not  the 
Dhira  Maliki,  the  royal  ell,  of  1 8  inches,  but  the  later  Arab  ell, 
equivalent  to  about  2  feet  English  measure.  At  this  valuation, 
Nasir's  measurements  will  be  found  to  agree  wonderfully  exactly 



with  those  of  the  present  Dome  of  the  Rock.  The  arrangement 
and  number  of  the  "  piers  "  and  "  columns  "  described  by  Nasir 
does  not,  however,  coincide  with  those  seen  at  the  present  day. 
Nasir  gives — inner  circle  :  four  piers,  with  two  columns  (eight  in 
all)  between  each ;  outer  circle :  eight  piers,  with  three  columns 
(twenty-four  in  all)  between  each  pier.  At  the  present  day  there 
are,  on  the  contrary,  three  columns  between  each  of  the  four 
piers  of  the  inner  circle,  and  two  only  between  each  of  the  eight 
piers  in  the  outer  ring.  (See  plan  facing  p.  114.)  Hence  Nasir's 
total  of  the  columns  (not  counting  piers)  is  thirty-two,  while  the 
present  number  is  twenty-eight.  (See  also  above,  p.  121.) 

South.  Door 

North.  Door 


TO  THE.    DESCRIPTION    Of    NASIR  -  I  -  KHUSRAU,   IN    104-7   A     D 

After  describing  the  Aksa  Mosque,  Nasir  continues  : 
"The  Kubbat  as  Sakhrah  (the  Dome  of  the  Rock) — which 
Rock  was,  of  old,  the  Kiblah — is  so  situate  as  to  stand  in  the 
middle  of  the  platform,  which  itself  occupies  the  middle  of  the 
Haram  Area.  The  edifice  is  built  in  the  form  of  a  regular  octagon, 
and  each  of  its  eight  sides  measures  33  cubits  (or  66  feet).  There 
are  four  gates  facing  the  four  cardinal  points — namely,  east,  west, 


north,  and  south ;  and  between  each  of  these  is  one  of  the  oblique 
sides  of  the  octagon.  The  walls  are  everywhere  constructed  of 
squared  stones,  and  are  20  cubits  (or  40  feet  in  height).  The 
Rock  itself  measures  100  ells  round.  It  has  no  regular  form, 
being  neither  square  nor  circular ;  but  is  shapeless,  like  a  boulder 
from  the  mountains.  Beyond  the  four  sides  of  the  Rock  rise  four 
piers  of  masonry  that  equal  in  height  the  walls  of  the  (octagonal) 
building ;  and  between  every  two  piers,  on  the  four  sides,  stand  a 
pair  of  marble  pillars,  which  are  like  to  the  height  of  the  piers. 
Resting  on  these  twelve  piers  and  pillars  is  the  structure  of  the 
Dome,  under  which  lies  the  Rock  ;  and  the  circumference  of  the 
Dome  is  120  cubits  (or  240  feet).* 

"  Between  the  walls  of  the  (octagonal)  building,  and  the  circle 
of  piers  and  pillars — and  by  the  term  '  pier '  (sutiin)  I  understand 
a  support  that  is  built  up,  and  is  square  ;  while  the  term  '  pillar ' 
(ustuwanaJi)  denotes  a  support  that  is  cut  from  a  single  block  of 
stone,  and  is  round — between  this  inner  circle  of  supports,  then, 
and  the  outer  walls  of  the  edifice,  are  built  eight f  other  piers  of 
squared  stones,  and  between  every  two  of  them  are  placed,  equi- 
distant, three  columns  in  coloured  marble.  Thus,  while  in  the 
inner  circle  between  every  two  piers  there  are  two  columns,  there 
are  here  (in  the  outer  circle)  between  every  two  piers,  three 
columns.  On  the  capital  of  each  pier  are  set  four  volutes  (shakh\ 
from  each  of  which  springs  an  arch ;  and  on  the  capital  of  each 
column  are  set  two  volutes,  sc  that  every  column  is  the  spring  of 
two  arches,  while  at  every  pier  is  the  spring  of  four. 

"  The  Great  Dome,  which  rises  above  the  twelve  piers  standing 
round  the  Rock,  can  be  seen  from  the  distance  of  a  league  away, 

*  From  the  very  exact  plans  in  M.  de  Vogues  Jerusalem,  the  full  diameter 
of  the  drum  of  the  Dome  appears  to  be  23  metres,  or  75^  feet.  This  gives  a 
circumference  of  237  feet,  which  agrees  very  well  with  the  120  cubits,  240  feet 
of  the  text. 

f  The  British  Museum  MS.  and  M.  Schefer's  text  both  give  "six  "as  the 
number  of  piers  in  the  outer  circle,  but  this  neither  corresponds  with  what 
follows  some  lines  below  (where  the  total  number  of  piers  in  the  outer  and 
inner  circles  is  stated  to  be  twelve,  i.e.,  four  //weight),  nor  with  the  actual 
condition  of  the  Dome  of  the  Rock,  which  apparently  never  had  more  than 
four  piers  in  the  inner,  and  eight  in  the  outer  circle,  a  number  necessitated  by 
the  octagonal  shape  of  the  building. 


rising  like  the  summit  of  a  mountain.  From  the  base  of  the 
Dome  to  its  pinnacle  measures  30  cubits,  and  this  rises  above  the 
(octagonal)  walls  that  are  20  ells  high,  for  the  Dome  is  supported 
on  the  pillars  that  are  like  in  height  to  the  outer  walls ;  and  the 
whole  building  rises  on  a  platform  that  itself  is  12  ells  high,  so 
that  from  the  level  of  the  Court  of  the  Noble  Sanctuary  to  the 
summit  of  the  Dome  measures  a  total  of  62  ells  (or  124  feet).* 
The  roofing  and  the  ceiling  of  this  edifice  are  both  in  woodwork  ; 
this  is  set  above  the  piers,  and  the  pillars,  and  the  walls,  after  a 
fashion  not  to  be  seen  elsewhere.  The  Rock  itself  rises  out  of 
the  floor  to  the  height  of  a  man,  and  a  balustrade  of  marble  goes 
round  about  it,  in  order  that  none  may  lay  his  hand  thereon. 
The  Rock  inclines  on  the  side  that  is  towards  the  Kiblah  (or 
south),  and  there  is  an  appearance  as  though  a  person  had  walked 
heavily  on  the  stone  when  it  was  soft  like  clay,  whereby  the 
imprint  of  his  toes  had  remained  thereon.  There  are  on  the 
Rock  seven  such  footmarks,  and  I  heard  it  stated  that  Abraham 
—peace  be  upon  him  !— was  once  here  with  Isaac — upon  him  be 
peace  ! — when  he  was  a  boy,  and  that  he  walked  over  this  place, 
and  that  the  footmarks  were  his. 

"  In  the  house  of  the  Dome  of  the  Rock  men  are  always  con- 
gregated— pilgrims  and  worshippers.  The  place  is  laid  with  fine 
carpets  of  silk  and  other  stuffs.  In  the  middle  of  the  Dome,  and 
over  the  Rock,  there  hangs  from  a  silver  chain  a  silver  lamp  ;  and 
there  are  in  other  parts  of  the  building  great  numbers  of  silver 
lamps,  on  each  of  which  is  inscribed  its  weight.  These  lamps  are 
all  the  gift  of  the  (Fatimite  Khalif,  who  is)  Sultan  of  Egypt ;  and, 
according  to  the  calculations  I  made,  there  must  be  here  in  silver 
utensils  of  various  kinds  of  the  weight  of  a  thousand  Manns  (or 
about  a  ton  and  a  half).  I  saw  there  a  huge  wax  taper  that  was 
7  cubits  high,  and  3  spans  in  diameter.  It  was  (white)  like  the 

*  I  note  this  as  the  principal  passage  for  proving  that  Nasir-i-Khusrau  uses 
the  terms  gez,  "  ell,"  and  ars/i,  "  cubit,"  synonymously.  On  a  previous  page  he 
has  said  that  the  platform  is  twelve  arsh  high  ;  here  he  says  it  measures  twelve 
gez,  and  this  added  to  twenty  gez  (walls)  and  to  thirty  arsh  (dome)  makes  sixty- 
two  gez.  The  height  of  the  Dome  of  the  Rock  at  the  present  day,  measuring 
from  floor  to  summit  of  dome,  is,  roughly,  112  feet.  Nasir  estimates  it  (deduct- 
ing the  height  of  the  platform)  at  50  ells  or  cubits,  equivalent  to  100  feet. 


camphor  of  Zibfij,*  and  the  (wax)  was  mixed  with  ambergris. 
They  told  me  that  the  Sultan  of  Egypt  sent  hither  every  year  a  great 
number  of  tapers,  and,  among  the  rest,  the  large  one  just  described, 
on  which  the  name  of  the  Sultan  was  written  in  golden  letters. 

"  As  I  have  said  before,  all  the  roof  and  the  exterior  parts 
of  the  Dome  of  the  Rock  are  covered  with  lead.  At  each  of  the 
four  sides  of  the  Dome  of  the  Rock  is  set  a  great  gate,  with 
double  folding-doors  of  Saj-wood  (or  teak).  These  doors  are 
always  kept  closed.  They  say  that  on  the  night  of  his  ascent  into 
Heaven,  the  Prophet — peace  and  benediction  be  upon  him  !  — 
prayed  first  in  the  Dome  of  the  Rock,  laying  his  hand  upon  the 
Rock.  And  as  he  came  forth,  the  Rock,  to  do  him  honour,  rose 
up,  but  the  Prophet — peace  and  benediction  be  upon  him  ! — laid 
his  hand  thereon  to  keep  it  in  its  place,  and  firmly  fixed  it  there. 
But,  by  reason  of  this  uprising,  even  to  the  present  day,  it  is  here 
partly  detached  (from  the  ground  below).  The  Prophet — the 
peace  of  Allah  be  upon  him,  and  His  benediction  ! — went  on 
thence  and  came  to  the  Dome,  which  is  now  called  after  him,  and 
there  he  mounted  (the  steed)  Burak  ;  and  for  this  reason  is  that 
Dome  venerated.  Underneath  the  Rock  is  a  large  cavern,  where 
they  continually  burn  tapers;  and  they  say  that  when  the  Rock 
moved  in  order  to  rise  up  (in  honour  of  the  Prophet),  this  space  \ 
below  was  left  void,  and  that  when  the  Rock  became  fixed,  itsoj 
remained,  even  as  may  now  be  seen."  (N.  Kh.,  44-50.) 
Of  the  Rock  itself,  Nasir  gives  the  following  account : 
"  This  stone,  of  the  Sakhrah,  is  that  which  God— be  He  exalted 
and  glorified  ! — commanded  Moses  to  institute  as  the  Kiblah 
(or  direction  to  be  faced  at  prayer).  After  this  command  had 
come  down,  and  Moses  had  instituted  the  Sakhrah  as  the  Kiblah ; 
he  himself  lived  but  a  brief  time,  for  of  a  sudden  was  his  life 
cut  short  Then  came  the  days  of  Solomon — upon  him  be 
peace  ! — who,  seeing  that  the  Rock  of  the  Sakhrah  was  the 
Kiblah-point,  built  a  Mosque  round  about  the  Rock,  whereby 
the  Rock  stood  in  the  midst  of  the  Mosque,  which  became 

*  Xiluj,  or  Zabij,  according  to  the  author  of  the  Marasid,  is  the  name  of  the 
country  in  the  further  parts  of  India,  on  the  frontiers  of  China,  i.e.,  Cochin 
China  (?). 



the  oratory  of  the  people.  So  it  remained  down  to  the  days 
of  our  Prophet  Muhammad,  the  Chosen  One — upon  him  be 
blessings  and  peace  !— who  likewise  at  first  recognised  this  Rock  to 
be  the  Kiblah,  turning  towards  it  at  his  prayers  ;  but  God — be  He 
exalted  and  glorified  ! — afterwards  (in  the  month  Rajab  of  the 
second  year  of  the  Hijrah)  commanded  him  to  institute  as  the 
Kiblah  the  House  of  the  Ka'abah  (at  Makkah)."  (N.  Kh.,  27.) 

The  Author  of  the  Mutkir,  writing  in  1351,  notes  the  occur- 
rence of  what  he  deemed  a  remarkable  event,  which  happened  a 
few  years  after  Nasir's  visit.  He  writes  :* 

"  In  the  year  452  (A.D.  1060)  the  Great  Lantern  (Tannur)  that 
hung  in  the  Dome  of  the  Rock  fell  down,  and  there  were  in 
this  Lantern  five  hundred  lamps.  Those  of  the  Muslims  who 
were  at  Jerusalem  augured  therefrom,  saying,  '  Of  a  surety  there 
will  happen  some  portentous  event  in  Islam.' " 

In  1099  the  Crusaders  took  Jerusalem,  and  the  Dome  of 
the  Rock,  considered  by  them  to  be  the  Templum  Domini, 
passed  to  the  Knights  Templar.  Holding  this  building  to  be  the 
veritable  Temple  of  the  Lord,  its  figure  was  emblazoned  by  the 
Knights  on  their  armorial  bearings,  and  in  both  plan  and  elevation 
the  edifice  came  to  be  reproduced  by  the  Templars  in  the  various 
Temple  Churches  which  the  Order  caused  to  be  built  in  London, 
Laon,  Metz,  and  other  cities  throughout  Europe..  In  Raphael's 
famous  picture  of  the  Sposalizio,  preserved  in  the  Brera  Gallery  at 
Milan,  the  Spousals  of  the  Virgin  are  represented  as  taking  place 
before  the  Gate  of  the  Temple,  which  Temple  is  a  fairly  exact 
representation  of  the  polygon  of  the  Dome  of  the  Rock. 

The  Sicilian  geographer  Idrisi,  in  1154,  gives  a  short  description 
of  the  Dome  ;  but  he  himself  had  never  visited  Palestine,  and 
he  most  probably  made  up  his  account  from  descriptions  dating 
from  the  beginning  of  the  eleventh  century. 

He  writes :  "In  the  centre  of  the  (Court  of  the)  Mosque  rises 
the  mighty  Dome,  known  as  the  Kubbat  as  Sakhrah  (the  Dome  of 

*  The  Arabic  text  is  given  in  my  paper  in  the  Joiirnal  of  the  Royal  Asiatic 
Society,  New  Series,  vol.  xix.,  p.  304.  This  paragraph  is  copied  verbatim  by 
Suyuti  (Journal  of  the  Royal  Asiatic  Society,  vol.  «'/.,  p.  287),  and  also  by 
Mujir  ad  Din  (Cairo  Text,  p.  270).  The  Chronicles,  it  may  be  noted,  mention 
no  earthquake  as  occurring  in  this  year. 


the  Rock).  This  Dome  is  overlaid  with  gold  mosaic,  and  is 
of  most  beautiful  workmanship,  erected  by  the  Muslim  Khalifs. 
In  its  midst  is  the  Rock  (the  Sakhrah),  which  is  said  to  have 
fallen  down  (from  heaven).  It  is  a  mass  of  stone  of  the  height  of 
the  Platform,  and  occupies  the  centre  under  the  Dome.  The 
extremity  of  one  of  its  sides  rises  above  the  floor  to  half  a  man's 
height  or  more,  while  the  other  side  lies  even  with  the  level  (of 
the  Platform).  The  length  of  the  Rock  is  nearly  equal  to  its 
breadth,  and  is  some  10  ells  and  odd  by  the  like.  You  may 
descend  into  the  lower  part  thereof,  and  go  down  into  a  dark 
chamber,  like  a  cellar,  the  length  of  which  is  10  ells,  by  5  in 
width,  and  the  ceiling  reaches  above  a  man's  height.  No  one  can 
enter  this  chamber  except  with  a  lamp  to  light  him.  The  Dome 
(of  the  Rock)  has  four  Gates.  The  Western  Gate  has  opposite 
to  it  an  Altar,  whereon  the  Children  of  Israel  were  wont  to  offer 
up  their  sacrifices.  Near  the  Eastern  Gate  of  the  Dome  is 
the  Church,  which  is  called  the  Holy  of  Holies — it  is  of  an 
admirable  size.  Opposite  to  the  Northern  Gate  (of  the  Dome  of 
the  Rock)  is  a  beautiful  Garden,  planted  with  all  sorts  of  trees,  and 
round  this  Garden  is  set  a  colonnade  of  marble  of  most  wondrous 
workmanship.  In  the  further  part  of  this  Garden  is  a  place 
of  assembly,  where  the  priests  and  deacons  are  wont  to  take  their 
repasts."  (Id.,  7.) 

This  Garden  of  the  Priests,  mentioned  also  by  'Alt  of  Herat 
(see  p.  133),  is,  doubtless,  the  House  of  the  Augustinian  Canons 
established  here  by  Godfrey  de  Bouillon.  Perhaps  this  may  have 
occupied  the  site  of  the  "  Cloister  of  the  Sufis  "  mentioned  by 
Nasir-i-Khusrau  in  1047  (see  Chapter  V.,  Gates  of  the  Haram 
Area).  The  Church  of  the  Holy  of  Holies  is  the  building  the 
Muslims  call  the  Dome  of  the  Chain,  of  which  a  description  will 
be  given  in  the  following  chapter.  The  Altar  of  the  Children  of 
Israel  is  apparently  of  Christian  invention,  and  corresponds  to  no 
Muslim  edifice ;  it  is  mentioned  in  the  Citez  de  Jherusalem*  (about 
1225),  and  by  other  Christian  writers,  one  of  whom  states  that  the 
Saracens  ultimately  turned  it  into  a  sundial. 

'AH  of  Herat,  who  visited  the  Holy  City  in  1173,  fifteen  years 

*  Palestine  Pilgrims'  Text,  p.  37. 



before  it  was  retaken  by  Saladin,  has  left  us  a  full  description  of 
what  he  saw  in  the  Dome  of  the  Rock.  He  notes  the  iron  railing 
put  round  the  Rock  by  the  Crusaders  in  place  of  the  marble 
balustrade  mentioned  by  Nasir-i-Khusrau.  Portions  of  this  iron 
"grille"  still  exist,  and  an  illustration  depicting  it  will  be  found  in 
M.  de  Vogue's  Jerusalem.  The  chamber  under  the  Rock  'Ali 
calls  "  The  Cave  of  the  Souls."  The  present  tradition  asserts 
that  the  Bir  al  Arwah,  "  The  Well  of  the  Souls,"  is  not  this 
chamber,  but  a  well  hollowed  in  the  rock  below  its  pavement. 
'Ali's  description  of  the  Dome  represents  exactly  what  is  seen  at 
the  present  day,  the  detail  of  the  arrangement  and  number  of  the 
piers  and  columns,  in  the  inner  and  outer  circle,  supporting  the 
Dome,  as  given  in  his  text,  being  identical  with  what  is  shown  in  the 
present  plan.  The  earlier  accounts,  it  will  be  remembered,  varied 
on  these  points  of  detail.  When  the  alteration  occurred  is 
unknown.  The  ell  with  which  'Ali  of  Herat  takes  his  measure- 
ments is  presumably  the  royal  ell  of  18  inches,  or  somewhat  less. 

'Ali  of  Herat  writes  :  "  The  Kubbat  as  Sakhrah  (meaning  the 
Rock  under  the  Dome)  has  upon  it  the  (imprint  of)  the  footmark 
of  the  Prophet.  Now  I  went  and  saw  the  Rock  in  the  days  of  the 
Frank  dominion,  and  what  was  to  be  seen  of  it  then  lay  in  the 
north  part  of  the  Dome  only.  Round  it  was  a  railing  of  iron. 
At  the  present  time,  since  Saladin's  reconquest  of  the  Holy  City, 
the  Rock  appears  to  the  south  also,  under  the  Dome.  There 
is  all  around,  below  it,  a  border,  which  is  covered  with  enamelled- 
work.  The  Rock  is  here  a  span  in  breadth,  and  its  height  is 
of  2  ells.  Its  circumference  is  over  4  ells.  Underneath  the  Rook 
is  the  Cave  of  the  Souls  (Mugharat  al  Arwah}.  They  say  that 
Allah  will  bring  together  the  souls  of  all  True  Believers  to  this 
spot.  You  descend  to  this  Cave  by  some  fourteen  steps,  and 
they  state  that  the  grave  of  Zakariyyah — peace  be  upon  him  ! — is 
here  in  this  Cave.  The  Cave  of  the  Souls  is  of  the  height  of 
a  man.  Its  width  extends  n  paces  from  east  to  west,  and  13 
paces  from  north  to  south.  In  its  roof  is  an  aperture  towards  the 
east,  the  size  of  which  is  an  ell  and  a  half  across.  The  circum- 
ference of  the  Cavern  is  5  ells.  The  building  of  the  Dome  of  the 
Rock  has  four  doors,  and  I  visited  the  place  in  the  year  569  (1173), 


during  the  time  of  the  Frank  dominion,  as  before  stated.  Opposite 
the  door  leading  to  the  Cave  of  the  Souls,  and  near  to  the  iron 
railing,  was,  in  these  days,  a  picture  of  Solomon,  son  of  David. 
Also  near  to  the  iron  railing,  and  to  the  west  of  the  Leaden  Gate, 
but  above  it,  was  the  picture  of  the  Messiah  all  studded  over  with 

"  The  Gate  (of  the  Dome  of  the  Rock)  to  the  east  opens 
towards  the  Dome  of  the  Chain.  Above  it  is  an  arch,  on  which 
is  inscribed  the  name  of  the  Khalif  Al  Kaim-bi-Amr-Illah,  and 
the  chapter  (cxii.,  of  the  Kuran),  called  Ikhlas — that  is,  'Sincerity.' 
To  the  east  of  the  Dome  of  the  Rock  is,  as  aforesaid,  the  Dome 
of  the  Chain  ;  it  is  here  Solomon,  the  son  of  David,  administered 
justice.  To  the  north  of  the  Dome  of  the  Rock  was  the  House 
of  the  Priests  (Dar  al  Kusas),  which  building  is  supported  on 
columns. *  The  (octagonal)  Colonnade  round  the  Dome  of  the 
Rock  is  supported  on  sixteen  columns  of  marble,  and  on  eight 
piers ;  and  the  Dome  within  this  is  supported  on  four  piers  and 
twelve  columns.  In  the  circumference  (of  the  Drum)  are  sixteen 
grated  windows.  The  circumference  of  the  Dome  is  160  ells 
(240  feet).  The  perimeter  of  the  great  edifice  which  comprehends 
all  these  (pillars,  and  the  Dome,  and  which  is  the  octagonal 
building),  measures  400  ells  minus  16  ells  (384  ells,  or  576  feet). 
A  line  going  round  the  whole  building  (of  the  Dome  of  the  Rock), 
and  including  the  Dome  of  the  Chain  and  what  pertains  thereto 
of  other  buildings,  would  measure  482  ells  (or  723  feet).  The 
height  of -the  iron  grating  which  surrounds  the  Rock  is  twice  that 
of  a  man.  There  are  four  iron  gates  to  the  Dome  of  the  Rock 
— one  (north)  towards  the  Bab  ar  Rahmah  (Gate  of  Mercy, 
the  ancient  Golden  Gate) ;  one  (west)  towards  the  Bab  Jibrail ; 
one  towards  the  Kiblah  (south) ;  and  one  (east)  towards  the 
Dome  of  the  Chain.  The  Dome  of  the  Chain  measures  60  paces 
round."  (A.  H.,  Oxf.  MSS.,  ff.  35-38.) 

In  1187  Jerusalem  was  retaken  by  Saladin,  who,  as  has  been 
described  above  (p.  109),  effected  a  complete  restoration  of  the 
Haram  Area  to  its  pristine  condition.  Of  the  state  into  which 
the  Rock  had  come  through  the  zeal  of  the  Franks  for  the 

*  See  p.  131. 


acquisition  of  relics,  the  Chronicle  of  Ibn  al  Athir  gives  the 
following  account  under  the  year  583  A.H.  Possibly  the  "  border  " 
described  by  'Ali  of  Herat  as  running  all  round  the  Rock  (see 
above,  p.  132)  is  the  covering  of  pavement  which  Saladin  ordered 
to  be  removed. 

Ibn  al  Athir  writes :  "  Now  the  Franks  had  covered  the  Rock 
with  a  marble  pavement,  and  this  Saladin  ordered  to  be  removed. 
And  the  reason  whereby  they  had  thus  covered  it  with  a  pave- 
ment was  this :  In  the  earlier  times  their  priests  had  been  used  to 
(break  off  and)  sell  pieces  of  the  Rock  to  the  Frank  (pilgrims) 
who  came  from  beyond  the  sea  on  pilgrimage ;  for  these  would 
buy  the  same  for  its  weight  in  gold,  believing  that  there  lay  therein 
a  blessing.  But  seeing  this,  certain  of  the  (Latin)  kings,  fearing 
lest  the  Rock  should  all  disappear,  ordered  that  it  should  be  paved 
over  to  keep  it  safe."  (Ibn  al  Athir,  ix.  365.) 

After  Saladin  had  completed  his  restoration,  he  set  up  inside 
the  cupola  of  the  Dome,  above  the  Rock,  a  beautiful  inscription 
in  tile-work  on  a  series  of  bands  and  medallions,  which  may  still 
be  seen  in  situ.  The  Arabic  text  of  this  long  inscription,  of  which 
the  following  is  a  translation,  will  be  found  in  M.  de  Vogue's 
work,*  so  often  referred  to.  The  text  does  not  run  continuously  ; 
but  the  following  numbers  (referring  to  the  paragraphs  of  the 
translation)  show  the  order  in  which  the  bands  and  medallions — 
running,  of  course,  from  right  to  left,  following  the  Arabic  writing 
— stand  each  to  the  other  inside  the  Drum  below  the  cupola. 
Besides  Saladin's  inscription,  there  are  also  two  others,  set  up  at  a 
much  later  date,  in  the  spaces  at  first  left  vacant. 

13.    12.    7.    ii.    6.    10.    5.    9.    16.    8.    4.    3.    15.    2.    14.    i. 

1.  "  In  the  name  of  Allah,  the  Compassionate,  the  Merciful,  hath 

commanded  the  renewal  of  the  gilding  of  this 

2.  Noble  Dome,  our  Master  the  Sultan,  the  victorious  King, 

3.  the  sage,  the  just  Salah  ad  Dm  Yiisuf, 

4.  In  the  name  of  Allah,  the  Compassionate,  the  Merciful 

5.  .   .  .  in  the  latter  third  of  the  month  Rajab  of  the  year  585, 

6.  by  the  hand  of  God's  poor  servitor  Salah  ad  Dm 

7.  Yusuf  ibn  Ay y lib  ib?i  Shddi,  may  Allah  encompass  him  in  His 

mercy  r 

*  Le  Temple  de  Jerusalem,  pp.  91,  92. 


It  will  be  convenient  to  add  here  the  translations  of  the  two 
other  inscriptions,  which  are  found  on  the  bands  and  medallions, 
interspersed  with  Saladin's  great  inscription.  The  first  of  these 
commemorates  the  restoration  by  order  of  the  Mamluk  Sultan 
of  Egypt,  Muhammad  ibn  Kala'un,  in  A.H.  718  and  719  (1318  and 
1319).  The  second  was  set  up  in  our  own  days  by  the  Sultan  of 
Turkey,  Mahmud  II.  The  tiles  containing  the  date  of  this  last 
inscription  have  been  injured,  and  only  the  centuries  (12**  A.H.) 
can  be  read.  Sultan  Mahmud  II.  reigned  from  A.H.  1223 — 1255 

8.  "Hath  commanded  the  renewal  of  the  gilding  of  this  Dome, 

together  with  the  restoration  of  the  outer  Dome  of  lead 

9.  Our  Master  .   .   .  Aasir  ad  Dunya  wa  ad  Din, 

10,  the  Sultan  of  the  world,  who  stablisheth  the  pillars  of  the 

noble  Law, 

1 1.  the  Suftan  of  Islam,  Muhammad  the  son  of  the  Sultan  and 


\  2.  Al  Malik  Al  Mansiir  Kalciun,  may  Allah  encompass  him 
in  His  mercy !  And  this  (restoration  took  place)  during 
the  months  of  the  year  718 

13.  And  it  was   done   under   the   superintendence   of  the  poor 

servitor  of  Allah — be  He  exalted  ! — the  assiduous,  noble 

14.  and    illustrious    fawali,    Inspector    of    the     Two     Noble 

Sanctuaries, — 

15.  May  Allah  give  him  pardon  !     And  this  in  the  year  719  " 

16.  "  Hath  commanded  the  gilding  of  this  Dome,  and  the  restora- 

tion of  the  external  Dome,  our  Master  the  Sultan  Mahmud 
Khan.     In  the  year  12**" 

The  traveller  Ibn  Batutah,  who  visited  Jerusalem  in  the  year 
1355,  gives  but  few  new  details  of  the  Dome  of  the  Rock.  He 
expatiates  on  the  marvellous  beauty  of  the  building,  and  notes  the 
four  great  gates  and  the  interior  of  the  Dome,  ornamented  with 
gilding  and  colours.  After  describing  the  Rock,  and  mentioning 
the  cavern  below  it,  he  continues,  "  Round  the  rock  there  are  two 
gratings  set  here  to  guard  it.  Of  these  the  one  nearest  the  Rock 


is  of  iron,  the  other  of  wood.  In  the  Dome  there  is  hung  up  a 
great  Buckler  of  iron,  and  the  people  say  this  was  the  Buckler  of 
Hamzah  ibn  'Abd  al  Mutallib  (the  uncle  of  the  Prophet)."  (I.  B., 
i.  122,  123.) 

Mujir  ad  Din  states  that,  in  the  year  1448  (851),  the  roof  of  the 
Dome  of  the  Rock  was  destroyed  by  fire,  and  was  restored  by 
Sultan  al  Malik  adh  Dhahir,  "  so  as  to  be  more  beautiful  even 
than  it  had  been  aforetimes."  (M.  a.  D.,  443.)  The  cause  of 
the  fire  is  said  by  some  authorities  to  have  been  a  thunderbolt, 
which  fell  in  the  southern  part  of  the  edifice.  Others  state  that 
the  building  was  set  on  fire  by  a  boy,  who  had  gone  under  the 
roof  with  a  candle  to  catch  some  pigeons. 

Suyuti,  writing  in  1470,  gives  the  following  account  of  the 
Rock,  and  the  wonders  shown  in  its  vicinity :  "  The  Footprint 
seen  here  is  that  of  the  Prophet  when  he  mounted  the  steed 
Al  Burak  to  ascend  into  heaven.  In  Crusading  times  it  was  called 
Christ's  Footprint.  The  Tongue  is  said  to  have  been  given  to 
the  Rock  when  it  addressed  the  Khalif  'Omar  in  welcome ;  and 
the  Marks  of  the  angel  Gabriel's  Fingers  are  those  left  when  the 
Rock,  wishing  to  accompany  the  Prophet  to  heaven,  had  to  be 
pushed  down  and  kept  in  its  place. 

"  The  place  of  the  Noble  Footprint  may  be  seen  at  this  day  on 
a  stone  that  is  separate  from  the  Rock,  and  opposite  to  it,  on  the 
further  side,  which  is  to  the  south-west.  This  stone  is  supported 
on  a  column.  The  Rock,  at  this  present  day,  forms  the  walls 
enclosing  the  cave  (that  is,  beneath  it)  on  all  sides,  except  only  the 
part  which  lies  to  the  south,  where  is  the  opening  into  the  Cave. 
The  Rock  here  does  not  come  up  to  the  south  side  of  the  Cave, 
for  between  the  two  is  an  open  space.  From  the  entrance  down 
into  the  Cave  lead  stone  steps  for  descending  thereto.  On  these 
stairs  is  a  small  shelf,  near  where  the  pilgrims  stop  to  visit  the 
Tongue  of  the  Rock.  At  this  spot  is  a  marble  column,  the  lower 
part  of  which  rests  on  the  south  portion  of  the  shelf  aforesaid, 
while  its  upper  part  abuts  against  the  Rock,  as  though  to  prevent 
its  giving  way  towards  the  south — or  maybe  it  is  for  some  other 
purpose — and  the  portion  of  the  Rock  that  lies  below  supports  it. 
The  Place  of  the  Angel's  Fingers  is  on  the  western  side  of  the 


Rock,  and  is  distinct  from  the  Place  of  the  Noble  Footstep  already 
mentioned.  It  lies  close  to,  and  over  against,  the  western  gate  of 
the  Sakhrah  (or  Dome  of  the  Rock)."  (S.,  258;  copied  by 
M.  a.  D,  371.) 

All  these  various  marvels  are  shown  in  the  Dome  of  the  Rock 
at  the  present  day,  and  occupy  the  same  positions  as  they  did  in 
1470  when  Suvuti  wrote. 

In  conclusion,  the  following  measurements  are  of  some  interest. 
They  are  given  by  Mujir  ad  Din,  and  appear  to  have  been  care- 
fully taken  by  him  at  the  time  when  he  wrote  his  description  of 
Jerusalem  in  1496.  The  "workman's  ell,"  as  before  stated, 
measures  somewhat  over  2j  feet. 

"  The  building  of  the  Dome  of  the  Rock  is  octagonal.  The 
outer  perimeter  is  240  ells,  while  the  inner  is  224  ells,  measuring 
with  the  workman's  ell. 

"The  Dome  is  51  ells  high,  measured  from  the  pavement  to 
the  summit.  The  Platform,  on  which  the  Dome  of  the  Rock 
stands,  is  7  ells  above  the  level  of  the  Court ;  thus  the  summit  of 
the  Dome  is  58  ells  above  the  Area  of  the  Noble  Sanctuary.  The 
Dome  is  supported  by  twelve  pillars  and  by  four  piers  (in  the 
inner  ring)/'  (M.  a.  D.,  370,  371.) 



Traditional  Accounts  :  'Omar's  finding  of  the  Rock— The  Service  instituted  by 
the  Khalif  'Abd  al  Malik. 

The  Dome  of  the  Chain:  Minor  domes — The  platform  and  stairways  — 
The  Court  and  the  Haram  Area — The  Cradle  of  Jesus  and  Stables  of 
Solomon— Minor  buildings— Minarets. 


IN  the  preceding  chapter,  the  history  of  the  Dome  of  the  Rock 
and  the  Aksa  Mosque  has  been  recounted  from  the  earliest  avail- 
able Arab  sources,  namely,  the  Chronicles  and  Geographies  (dating 
from  the  third  and  fourth  centuries  of  the  Hijrah),  and  the 
accounts  of  the  first  Muslim  pilgrims,  who  described  their  visits  to 
Jerusalem.  With  the  foregoing  it  will  be  found  interesting  to 
compare  the  traditional  accounts  (apocryphal  in  detail,  and  pro- 
bably first  reduced  to  writing  at  a  period  subsequent  to  the 
Crusades),  which  profess  to  give  detailed  notices  of  the  Khalif 
'Omar's  re-discovery  of  the  Rock,  and  of  the  services  instituted  by 
the  Khalif  'Abd  al  Malik  after  he  had  erected  the  Dome  over  it. 
These  accounts,  as  far  as  I  have  been  able  to  discover,  are  first 
given  in  the  work  called  the  Muthir  al  Ghiram  (see  p.  n),  which 
was  composed  in  1351  (752),  close  on  seven  hundred  years  after  the 
days  of  'Abd  al  Malik,  and  considerably  over  the  seven  centuries 
after  the  date  of  'Omar.  The  author  of  the  Muthir  wrote  in  the 
period  succeeding  the  Crusades,  when  the  Franks  had  recently 
been  ejected  from  the  Holy  Land  ;  and  at  this  date,  what  may  be 
called  Historical  Romances  (as,  for  instance,  the  "  History  "  of  the 
Pseudo-Wakidi,  and  others),  were  much  in  vogue  throughout  the 
countries  that  Saladin  and  his  successors  had  so  recently  liberated 


from  the  Frank  dominion.  The  reconquest  of  Palestine  by 
Saladin,  recalled  the  incidents  of  the  first  Muslim  conquest  under 
'Omar  ;  and  possibly  there  were  still,  in  the  fourteenth  century, 
some  historical  traditions  which  may  have  formed  the  groundwork 
on  which  the  following  narratives  were  composed. 

There  is,  as  will  be  observed,  in  the  Muthir,  a  learned  affecta- 
tion of  citing  authorities,  giving  the  account  as  on  the  authority  of 
so-and-so,  who  had  it  from  his  father,  and  his  grandfather,  who 
heard  so-and-so  relate,  etc.,  etc.  This,  however,  is  merely  the 
usual  Arab  way  of  citing  the  tradition,  and  in  the  present  case 
practically  means  nothing,  since  no  authority  can  be  found  for 
these  stories  earlier  than  the  author  of  the  Muthir  himself.  These 
accounts,  as  given  in  the  Muthir,  have  been  freely  plagiarised  by 
succeeding  writers.  Shams  ad  Din  Suyuti  (1470)  quoted  from  the 
Muthir  verbatim,  and  Mujirad  Din,  in  1496,  copied  out  the  whole 
once  again,  adding  here  and  there  some  few  amplifications.*  In 
the  following  pages  the  order  of  the  paragraphs  in  the  Muthir  is 
not  kept  to,  the  narrative  in  my  translation  being  arranged  to  suit 
the  sequence  of  events. 

'Omar's  Conquest.  (Muthir,  chapter  v.f) — "  Al  Walid  %  states  / 
on  the  authority  of  Sa'id  ibn  'Abd  al  'Aziz,  that  the  letter  of 
the  Prophet  had  come  to  the  Kaisar  (Caesar)  while  he  was  sojourn- 
ing at  the  Holy  City.  §  Now  at  that  time  there  was  over  the 
Rock  of  the  Holy  City  a  "great  dungheajp"  Which  completely 
masked  the  MihralToTDavid,  and  which  same  the  Christians  had 
put  here  in  order  to  offend  the  Jews,  and  further,  even,  the 
Christian  women  were  wont  to  throw  here  their  cloths  and  clouts, 
so  "Ehaf  Ft  was  all  heaped  up  therewith.  Now,  when  Caesar  had 

*  The  Arabic  text,  taken  from  the  Paris  MSS.  of  the  Mttthtr,  of  which  the 
following  is  a  translation,  is  printed  in  my  paper  on  Suyuti  in  the  Journal  of  the 
Royal  Asiatic  Society,  vol.  xix.,  part  ii.,  where  the  whole  subject  of  the  MutMr's 
authorities  will  be  found  discussed  at  length. 

t  Quoted  by  S.,  278. 

£  Al  Walid  ibn  Muslim,  on  whose  authority  most  of  these  accounts  rest,  was 
a  celebrated  traditionist,  a  native  of  Damascus,  and  died  aged  seventy-three 
(according  to  Nawawi,  Wiistenfeld's  Text,  p.  618)  in  A.H.  194  or  195  (810). 

§  In  the  seventh  year  of  the  Hijrah,  the  Prophet  despatched  envoys  to  the 
Chosroes  (Khusrii  Parvviz)  of  Persia,  and  to  the  Caesar  of  Byzantium,  calling 
on  them  forthwith  to  acknowledge  his  mission  as  Allah's  Apostle. 


perused  the  letter  of  the  Prophet,  he  cried  and  said  :  '  O,  ye  men 
of  Greece,  verily  ye  are  the  people  who  shall  be  slain  on  this  dung- 
heap,  because  that  ye  have  desecrated  the  sanctity  of  this  Mosque. 
And  it  shall  be  with  you  even  as  it  was  with  the  Children  of  Israel, 
who  were  slain  for  reason  of  the  blood  of  Yahya  ibn  Zakariyya 
(John  the  Baptist).'  Then  the  Caesar  commanded  them  to  clear 
the  place,  and  so  they  began  to  do  ;  but  when  the  Muslims  in- 
vaded Syria,  only  a  third  part  thereof  had  been  cleared.  NQJK. 
when  'Omar  hail  conic  to  the  Holy  City  and  conquered  it,  and 
saw  how  there  was  a  dungheap  over  the  Rock,  he  regarded  it  as 
horrible,  and  ordered  that  it  should  be  entirely  cleared.  And  to 
accomplish  this  they  forced  the  Nabathaeans  of  Palestine  to  labour 
without  pay.  On  the  authority  of  Jabir  ibn  Nafir,  it  is  related 
that  when  'Omar  first  exposed  the  Rock  to  view  by  removing  the 
dungheap,  he  commanded  them  not  to  pray  there  until  three 
showers  of  heavy  rain  should  have  fallen." 

"  It  is  related  as  coming  from  Shadad  ibn  Aus,  who  accompanied 
'Omar  when  he  entered  the  noble  Sanctuary  of  the  Holy  City  on 
the  day  when  Allah  caused  it  to  be  reduced  by  capitulation,  that 
'Omar  entered  by  the  Gate  of  Muhammad,  crawling  on  his  hands 
and  knees,  he  and  all  those  who  were  with  him,  until  he  came  up 
to  the  Court  (of  the  Sanctuary).  There  he  looked  around  to  right 
and  to  left,  and,  glorifying  Allah,  said  :  '  By  Allah,  verily  this — by 
Him  in  whose  hand  is  my  soul  ! — must  be  the  Mosque  of  David, 
of  which  the  Apostle  spake  to  us,  saying,  /  was  conducted  thither 
in  the  night  journey.''  Then  'Omar  advanced  to  the  fore  (or 
southern)  part  of  the  Haram  Area,  and  to  the  western  side 
thereof,  and  he  said :  '  Let  us  make  this  the  place  for  the 

*  With  this  and  the  following  accounts  of  'Omar's  first  visit  to  the  Temple 
Area,  accompanied  by  the  Patriarch  of  Jerusalem,  it  will  be  interesting  to 
compare  the  narrative  of  the  Byzantine  historian  Theophanes,  who  wrote  his 
Chronographia  in  the  eighth  century  A.D.  (see  note  to  p.  92),  more  than  five 
hundred  years,  therefore,  before  the  author  of  the  Muthir,  who  is  our  sole 
authority  for  the  Muslim  tradition.  The  Greek  original,  of  which  the  following 
is  a  translation,  will  be  found  in  vol.  i.,  p.  519  of  the  Bonn  edition  (1839)  of 
the  Chronographia.  "Anno  Mundi  6127;  Anno  Domini  627.  In  this  year 
Omar  undertook  his  expedition  into  Palestine,  where,  the  Holy  City  having 
been  continuously  besieged  for  two  years  (by  the  Arab  armies),  he  at  length 


"  On  the  authority  of  Al  Walid  ibn  Muslim,  it  is  reported  as 
coming  from  a  Shaikh  of  the  sons  of  Shadad  ibn  Aus,  who  had 
heard  it  from  his  father,  who  held  it  of  his  grandfather,  that 
'Omar,  as  soon  as  he  was  at  leisure  from  the  writing  of  the  Treaty 
of  Capitulation  made  between  him  and  the  people  of  the  Holy 
City,  said  to  the  Patriarch  of  Jerusalem  :  *  Conduct  us  to  the 
Mosque  of  David.'  And  the  Patriarch  agreed  thereto.  Then  i 
'Omar  went  forth  girt  with  his  sword,  and  with  him  four  thousand 
of  the  Companions  who  had  come  to  Jerusalem  with  him,  all 
begirt  likewise  with  their  swords,  and  a  crowd  of  us  Arabs,  who 
had  come  up  to  the  Holy  City,  followed  them,  none  of  us  bearing 
any  weapons  except  our  swords.  And  the  Patriarch  walked  before 
'Omar  among  the  Companions,  and  we  all  came  behind  th$ 
Khalif.  Thus  we  entered  the  Holy  City.  And  the  Patriarch 
took  us  to  the  Church  which  goes  by  the  name  of  the  Kumamah,* 
and  said  he  :  '  This  is  David's  Mosque.'  And  'Omar  looked 
around  and  pondered,  then  he  answered  the  Patriarch  :  *  Thou 
liest,  for  the  Apostle  described  to  me  the  Mosque  of  David,  and 
by  his  description  this  is  not  it.'  Then  the  Patriarch  went  on 
with  us  to  the  Church  of  Sihyun  (Sion),  and  again  he  said :  *  This 
is  the  Mosque  of  David.'  But  the  Khalif  replied  to  him  :  '  Thou 
liest.'  So  the  Patriarch  went  on  with  him  till  he  came  to  the 
noble  Sanctuary  of  the  Holy  City,  and  reached  the  gate  thereof, 
called  (afterwards)  the  Gate  Muhammad.  Now  the  dung  which 
was  then  all  about  the  noble  Sanctuary,  had  settled  on  the  steps 
of  this  gate,  so  that  it  even  came  out  into  the  street  in  which  the 
gate  opened,  and  it  had  accumulated  so  greatly  on  the  steps  as 

became  possessed  of  it  by  capitulation.  Sophronius,  the  chief  (or  Patriarch) 
of  Jerusalem,  obtained  from  Omar  a  treaty  in  favour  of  all  the  inhabitants  of 
Palestine,  after  which  Omar  entered  the  Holy  City  clothed  in  camel-hair 
garments  all  soiled  and  torn,  and  making  show  of  piety  as  a  cloak  for  his 
diabolical  hypocrisy,  demanded  to  be  taken  to  what  in  former  times  had  been 
the  Temple  built  by  Solomon.  This  he  straightway  converted  into  an  oratory 
for  blasphemy  and  impiety.  When  Sophronius  saw  this  he  exclaimed  :  '  Verily, 
this  is  the  abomination  of  desolation  spoken  of  by  Daniel  the  Prophet,  and  it 
now  stands  in  the  Holy  Place  ;'  and  (the  Patriarch)  shed  many  tears." 

*  Al  Kumamah — literally,  "  the  dunghill."  This  is  a  designed  corruption  on 
the  part  of  the  Muslims  of  "  Al  Kayamah,"  Anastasis,  the  name  given  to  the 
Church  of  the  Resurrection  (the  Holy  Sepulchre)  by  the  Christian  Arabs. 


almost  to  reach  up  to  the  ceiling  of  the  gateway.  The  Patriarch 
said  to  'Omar  :  *  It  is  impossible  to  proceed  and  enter  —  except 
crawling  on  hands  and  knees.'  Said  'Omar  :  '  Even  on  hands  and 
knees  be  it.'  So  the  Patriarch  went  down  on  hands  and  knees, 
preceding  'Omar,  and  we  all  crawled  after  him,  until  he  had 
brought  us  out  into  the  Court  of  the  Noble  Sanctuary  of  the  Holy 
City.  Then  we  arose  off  our  knees,  and  stood  upright.  And 
'Omar  looked  around,  pondering  for  a  long  time.  Then  said  he  : 
*  By  Him  in  whose  hands  is  my  soul  !  —  this  is  the  place  described 
to  us  by  the  Apostle  of  Allah.'  "  (S.,  276  ;  M.  a.  D.,  226.) 

"And  it  is  reported  on  other  authority  to  the  last,  namely,  from 
Hisham  ibn  'Ammar,  who  had  it  from  Al  Haitham  ibn  'Omar  ibn 
al  'Abbasi,  who  related  that  he  had  heard  his  grandfather,  'Abd 
Allah  ibn  Abu  'Abd  Allah,  tell  how,  when  'Omar  was  Khalif,  he 
went  to  visit  the  people  of  Syria.  'Omar  halted  first  at  the  village 
of  Al  Jabiyah,*  while  he  despatched  a  man  of  the  Jadilah  Tribe 
to  the  Holy  City,  and,  shortly  after,  'Omar  became  possessed 
of  Jerusalem  by  capitulation.  Then  the  Khalif  himself  went 
thither,  and  Ka'ab  t  was  with  him.  Said  'Omar  to  Ka'ab  :  '  O, 
Abu  Ishak,  knowest  thou  the  position  of  the  Rock  ?'  and  Ka'ab 
answered  :  '  Measure  from  the  wall  which  is  on  the  Wadi  Jahan- 
num  so  and  so  many  ells  ;  there  dig,  and  ye  shall  discover  it  :' 
adding  :  '  At  this  present  day  it  is  a  dungheap.'  So  they  dug 
there,  and  the  Rock  was  laid  bare.  Then  said  'Omar  to  Ka'ab  : 
'Where  sayest  thou  we  should  place  the  Mosque,  or,  rather,  the 
Kiblah  ?'  Ka'ab  replied  :  '  Lay  out  a  place  for  it  behind  the 
Rock,  whereby  you  will  make  one  the  two  Kiblahs,  that,  namely, 
of  Moses,  and  that  of  Muhammad.'  But  'Omar  answered 

*  In  Jaulan. 

f  The  author  of  the  Muthir  writes  in  another  section  :  "  Ka'ab  al  Abhar, 
or  Al  Hibr,  surnamed  Abu  Ishak  ibn  Mani  the  Himyarite,  was  originally  a 
Jew,  and  became  a  Muslim  during  the  Khalifate  of  Abu  Bakr  —  or,  some  say, 
during  that  of  'Omar.  He  is  a  celebrated  authority  for  Traditions,  and  is 
noted  as  having  been  a  very  learned  man.  He  died  at  Himsin  A.H.  32  (652)." 
In  point  of  fact,  Ka'ab,  like  his  co-religionist,  the  equally  celebrated  Jew 
Wahb  ibn  Munabbih,  who  also  embraced  Islam  (the  two  being  the  great 
authorities  among  the  early  Muslims  in  all  points  of  ancient  history),  was  in 
time  discovered  to  have  been  a  great  liar,  and  to  have  considerably  gulled  the 
simple-minded  Arabs  of  the  first  century  of  the  Flight. 


'  Thou  hast  leanings  still  towards  the  Jews,  O  Abu  Ishak.  The 
Mosque  shall  be  in  front  of  the  Rock  (not  behind  it).'  Thus  was 
the  Mosque  erected  in  the  fore-part  of  the  Haram  Area." 

"  Al  Walid  further  relates,  as  coming  from  Kulthum  ibn  Ziyad, 
that  'Omar  asked  of  Ka'ab  :  '  Where  thinkest  thou  that  we  should 
put  the  place  of  prayer  for  Muslims  in  this  Holy  Sanctuary  ?' 
Said  Ka'ab  in  answer  :  *  In  the  hinder  (or  northern)  portion 
thereof,  in  the  part  adjoining  the  Gate  of  the  Tribes.'  But  'Omar 
said  :  '  Not  so ;  seeing  that,  on  the  contrary,  to  us  belongs  the 
fore-part  of  the  Sanctuary.'  And  'Omar  then  proceeded  to  the 
fore-part  thereof.  Al  Walid  again  relates — on  the  authority  of  Ibn 
Shaddad,  who  had  it  of  his  father — *  'Omar  proceeded  to  the  fore- 
part of  the  Sanctuary  Area,  to  the  side  adjoining  the  west  (namely 
to  the  south-west  part),  and  there  began  to  throw  the  dung  by 
handfuls  into  his  cloak,  and  we  all  who  were  with  him  did  like- 
wise. Then  he  went  with  it — and  we  following  him  to  do  the 
same — and  threw  the  dung  into  the  Wadi,  which  is  called  the 
\\Tuli  Jahannum.  Then  we  returned  to  do  the  like  over  again, 
and  yet  again — he,  'Omar,  and  also  we  who  were  with  him — until 
we  had  cleared  the  whole  of  the  place  where  the  Mosque  now 
stands.  And  there  we  all  made  our  prayers,  'Omar  himself  praying 
among  us." ' 

Some  other  versions  are  also  given  of  the  same  traditions,  iden- 
tical in  every  point  except  for  the  pseudo-authority  quoted,  and 
the  wording  of  the  narrative.  (See  S.,  32  ;  copied  by  M.  a.  D.,  225.) 
The  following  is  given  by  Suyuti  only  (not  by  the  author  of  the 
Muthlr\  and  is  curious  for  the  mention  of  the  St.  Mary  Church 
(Kan'isah  Mary  am)  possibly  the  Church  of  the  Virgin  described  by 

"  Now,  when  'Omar  made  the  capitulation  with  the  people  of 
the  Holy  City,  and  entered  among  them,  he  was  wearing  at  that 
time  two  long  tunics  of  the  kind  called  Sumbulani.  Then  he 
prayed  in  the  Church  of  Mary,  and,  when  he  had  done  so,  he 
spat  on  one  of  his  tunics.  And  it  was  said  to  him  :  '  Dost  thou 
spit  here  because  that  this  is  a  place  in  which  the  sin  of  polytheism 
has  been  committed  ?'  And  'Omar  answered  :  '  Yea,  verily  the 
sin  of  polytheism  hath  been  committed  herein  ;  but  nowr,  in  truth, 


the  name  of  Allah  hath  been  pronounced  here.'  It  is  further 
reported  that  'Omar  did  carefully  avoid  praying  near  the  Wadi 
Jahannum."  (S.,  34.) 

'Abd  al  Malik  and  the  Dome  of  the  Rock,  (MutMr,  chapter  vi.*) 
—"The  Khalif  'Abd  al  Malik  it  was  who  built  the  Dome  of  the 
Rock,  and  the  (Aksa)  Mosque  of  the  Holy  City ;  and,  according 
to  report,  he  devoted  to  the  expenses  of  the  same  the  revenues  of 
Egypt  for  the  space  of  seven  years.  The  historian  Sibt  al  Jauzi, 
in  his  work  called  the  '  Mirror  of  the  Time '  (Mirat  as  Zamdn), 
states  that  'Abd  al  Malik  began  the  building  here  in  the  year  69 
of  the  Hijrah,  and  completed  the  same  in  the  year  72  (A.D.  687 — 
690).  But  others  say  that  he  who  first  built  the  Dome  (of  the 
Rock)  of  the  Holy  City  was  Sa'id,  the  son  of  the  Khalif  'Abd  al 
Malik,  and  that  he  afterwards,  too,  restored  it.f  Now,  on  the 
authority  of  Rija  ibn  Hayah,  and  of  Yazid  ibn  Sallam,J  'Abd  al 
Malik's  freedman,  it  is  reported  that,  on  the  occasion  of  building 
the  Dome  of  the  Rock  of  the  Holy  City  and  the  Aksa  Mosque, 
the  Khalif  came  himself  from  Damascus  to  Jerusalem,  and  thence 
despatched  letters  into  all  the  provinces,  and  to  all  the  governors 
of  cities,  to  the  following  effect  :  '  'Abd  al  Malik  doth  wish  to 
build  a  Dome  over  the  Rock  in  the  Holy  City,  whereby  to  shelter 
the  Muslims  from  heat  and  cold  ;  as  also  a  Mosque.  But  he 
wisheth  not  to  do  this  thing  without  knowing  the  will  of  his 
people.  Therefore,  let  the  Muslims  write  their  desires,  and  what- 
soever may  be  their  will.'  And  letters  came  back  to  him  from  the 
governors  of  the  provinces  which  assured  the  Commander  of  the 
Faithful  of  the  full  approval  of  all  men,  and  that  they  deemed  his 
intention  a  fitting  and  pious  one.  And  said  they :  *  We  ask  of 
Allah  to  vouchsafe  completion  to  what  the  Khalif  doth  undertake, 
in  the  matter  of  building  in  the  Noble  Sanctuary,  and  the  Dome 
therein,  and  the  Mosque ;  and  may  it  succeed  under  his  hand,  for 

*  Quoted  by  S.,  p.  280. 

f  This  assertion  is  found  in  none  of  the  early  authorities. 

£  Abu'l  Mikdam  Hija  ibn  Hayah  ibn  Jarul,  of  the  Kindah  tribe,  was  a  man 
celebrated  for  his  learning,  and  in  later  years  a  great  friend  of  the  second 
Khalif  'Omar  (Ibn  'Abd  al  'Aziz).  Yazid  ibn  Sallam.  his  colleague,  was  a  native 
of  Jerusalem.  The  account  following  is  transcribed  by  Mujir  ad  Din. — Cairo 
Text,  pp.  241,  242. 


it  is  a  noble  deed,  both  for  him  and  for  those  who  follow  after 

"  Then  the  Khalif  brought  together  craftsmen  from  all  parts  of 
his  empire,  and  commanded  that  they  should  set  forth  the  propor- 
tions and  elevation  of  the  building  before  they  began  to  build  the 
Dome  itself.  So  they  laid  out  the  plan  thereof  in  the  Court  of 
the  Haram  Area.  And  he  commanded  them  to  build  a  Treasure 
House  on  the  east  side  of  the  Rock,  and  the  same  is  the  building 
which  now  stands  close  beside  the  Rock.*  So  they  began  to 
build.  And  the  Khalif  set  apart  great  sums  of  money,  and 
instituted  to  be  overseers  thereof  Rija  ibn  Hayah,  and  Yazid  ibn 
Sallam,  commanding  them  to  spend  the  same,  and  giving  them 
authority  therein.  So  they  made  expenditure  for  digging  the 
foundations,  and  building  up  the  structure,  until  (all  was  finished 
and)  the  moneys  were  (in  large  part)  expended.  When  the  edifice 
was  complete  and  solidly  constructed,  so  that  not  a  word  could 
be  said  for  improvement  thereto,  these  men  wrote  to  the  Khalif 
at  Damascus,  saying  :  *  Allah  hath  vouchsafed  completion  to  what 
the  Commander  of  the  Faithful  commanded  concerning  the  build- 
ing of  the  Dome  over  the  Rock  of  the  Holy  City,  and  the  Aksa 
Mosque  also.  And  no  word  can  be  said  to  suggest  improvement 
thereto.  And  verily  there  remaineth  over  and  above  of  what  the 
Commander  of  the  Faithful  did  set  apart  for  the  expense  of  the 
same — the  building  being  now  complete  and  solidly  built — a  sum 
of  100,000  (gold)  dinars.  So  now  let  the  Commander  of  the 
Faithful  expend  the  remnant  in  whatever  matter  seemeth  good  to 
him.'  And  the  Khalif  wrote  to  them  in  reply :  '  Let  this,  then, 
be  a  gift  unto  you  two  for  what  ye  have  accomplished  in  the 
building  of  this  noble  and  blessed  house.'  But  to  this  Rija  and 
Yazid  sent  answer :  '  Nay,  rather,  first  let  us  add  to  this  the 
ornaments  of  our  women  and  the  superfluity  of  our  wealth,  and 
then  do  thou,  O  Khalif,  expend  the  whole  in  what  seemeth  best 
to  thee.'  Then  the  Khalif  wrote  commanding  them  to  melt  down 
the  gold,  and  apply  it  to  the  adornment  of  the  Dome.  So  all  this 
gold  was  melted  down  and  expended  to  adorn  the  Dome  of  the 
Rock  ;  to  an  extent  that  it  was  impossible,  by  reason  of  the 

*  Now  called  the  Dome  of  the  Chain.     See  p.  153. 



gold  thereon,  for  anyone  to  keep  the  eye  fixed  and  look  at  it. 
They  prepared  also  two  coverings,  to  go  over  the  Dome,  of  felts 
and  of  skins  of  animals,  and  the  same  were  put  over  it  in  the 
winter-time  to  preserve  it  from  the  rains,  and  the  winds,  and  the 
snows.  Rija  ibn  Hayah  and  Yazid  ibn  Sallam  also  surrounded  the 
Rock  with  a  lattice-screen  of  Sasim  (or  ebony-wood),  and  out- 
side the  screen  they  hung  between  the  columns  curtains  of 

'•  Each  day  fifty  and  two  persons  were  employed  to  pound  and 
grind  down  saffron,  working  by  night  also,  and  leavening  it  with 
musk  and  ambergris,  and  rose-water  of  the  Juri  rose.  At  early 
dawn  the  servants  appointed  entered  the  Bath  of  Sulaiman*  ibn 
'Abd  al  Malik,  where  they  washed  and  purified  themselves  before 
proceeding  to  the  Treasure  Chamber  (al  Khazanah),  in  which  was 
kept  the  (yellow  perfume  of  saffron  called)  Khuhlk.  And,  before 
leaving  the  Treasure  Chamber,  they  changed  all  their  clothes, 
putting  on  new  garments,  made  of  the  stuffs  of  Marv  and  Herat, 
also  shawls  (of  the  striped  cloths  of  Yaman),  called  'Asb ;  and, 
taking  jewelled  girdles,  they  girt  these  about  their  waists.  Then, 
bearing  the  jars  of  the  Khuluk  in  their  hands,  they  went  forth  and 
anointed  therewith  the  stone  of  the  Rock,  even  as  far  as  they 
could  reach  up  to  with  their  hands,  spreading  the  perfume  all  over 
the  same.  -And  for  the  part  beyond  that  which  they  could  reach, 
having  first  washed  their  feet,  they  attained  thereto  by  walking  on 
the  Rock  itself,  anointing  all  that  remained  thereof;  and  by  this 
the  jars  of  the  Khuluk  were  completely  emptied.  Then  they 
brought  censers  of  gold  and  of  silver,  filled  with  aloes  wood  of 
Kimar  (in  Java\  and  the  incense  called  Nadd,  compounded  with 
musk  and  ambergris ;  and,  letting  down  the  curtains  between  the 
columns,  they  swung  to  and  fro  the  censers,  until  the  incense 
did  rise  into  all  the  space  between  the  columns  and  the  Dome 
above,  by  reason  of  the  quantity  thereof.  Which  done,  and  the 

*  The  MSS.  of  Suyftti  read  "  Hammam  Sulaiman,"  as  though  it  were  the 
Bath  of  King  Soloman.  I  have  found  no  notice  of  this  bath  elsewhere  ;  and 
it  is  on  the  authority  of  the  Muthtr  that  the  Bath  is  named  after  the  son  of  the 
Khalif  'Abd  al  Malik.  The  Jiiri  rose  is  named  from  the  town  of  Jur  or  Gvir,  in 
Persia,  afterwards  called  Fairuzabacl.  which  was  so  celebrated  for  its  roses  as  to 
be  surnamed  Balad al  Ward,  "the  City  of  Roses."  (Yakut,  ii.  147.) 


curtains  again  drawn  up,  the  censers  were  carried  outside  the 
building,  whereby  the  sweet  smell  went  abroad,  even  to  the 
entrance  of  the  market  beyond  (the  Haram  Area),  so  that  all  who 
passed  therein  could  scent  the  perfume.  After  this  the  censers 
were  extinguished  Proclamation  then  was  made  by  criers  from 
before  the  screen  :  '  The  Sakhrah,  verily,  is  open  for  the  people, 
and  he  who  would  pray  therein,  let  him  come.'  And  the  people 
would  hasten  to  come  and  make  their  prayer  in  the  Sakhrah,  the 
most  of  them  performing  two  Rika'ahs  (or  prayer  prostrations), 
while  some  few  acquitted  themselves  of  four.  And  he  who  had 
thus  said  his  prayers,  when  he  had  gone  forth  again,  (friends) 
would  perceive  on  him  the  perfume  of  the  incense,  and  say : 
'  Such  an  one  hath  been  in  the  Sakhrah.'  (After  the  prayer-time 
was  over,  the  servants)  washed  off  with  water  the  marks  left  by 
the  peoples'  feet,  cleaning  everywhere  with  green  myrtle  (brooms), 
and  drying  with  cloths.  Then  the  gates  were  closed,  and  for 
guarding  each  were  appointed  ten  chamberlains,  since  none  might 
enter  the  Sakhrah — except  the  servants  thereof — on  other  days 
than  the  Monday  and  the  Friday. 

"On  the  authority  of  Abu  Bakr  ibn  al  Harith,  it  is  reported 
that,  during  the  Khalifate  of  'Abd  al  Malik,  the  Sakhrah  was 
entirely  lighted  with  (oil  of)  the  Midian  Ban  (the  Tamarisk,  or 
Myrobalan)  tree,  and  oil  of  Jasmin,  of  a  lead  colour.  (And  this, 
says  Abu  Bakr,  was  of  so  sweet  a  perfume,  that)  the  chamberlains 
were  wont  to  say  to  him  :  *  O  Abu  Bakr,  pass  us  the  lamps  that 
we  may  put  oil  on  ourselves  therefrom,  and  perfume  our  clothes ' ; 
and  so  he  used  to  do,  to  gratify  them.  Such  are  the  matters 
relating  to  the  days  of  the  Khalifate  of  'Abd  al  Malik. 

"  Further,  saith  Al  Walid,  it  hath  been  related  to  me  by  'Abd 
ar  Rahman  ibn  Mansur  ibn  Thabit — who  said,  I  hold  it  of  my 
father,  who  held  it  of  his  father,  and  he  from  his  grandfather — 
that,  in  the  days  of  'Abd  al  Malik,  there  was  suspended  from  the 
chain  hanging  down  in  the  middle  of  the  Dome  of  the  Rock  a 
single  unique  pearl,  also  the  two  horns  of  the  Ram  of  Abraham, 
and  the  Crown  of  the  Chosroes.  But  when  the  Khalifate  passed 
to  the  Abbasides,  they  had  all  these  relics  transported  to  the 
Ka'abah — which  may  Allah  preserve  !" 

TO — 2 


The  following,  which  occurs  in  the  seventh  chapter  of  the 
Muttur,  is  quoted  both  by  Suyuti  and  by  Mujir  ad  Din.  (S.,  285; 
M.  a.  D.,  248.)  A  somewhat  similar  account  will  be  found  below 
(p.  161),  on  the  much  earlier  authority  of  Ibn  al  Fakih. 

"  On  the  authority  of  the  Hafidh  Ibn  'Asakir,  the  testimony 
going  back  to  Abu-1-Ma'ali  al  Mukaddasi,  it  is  related  how  ;Abd 
al  Malik  built  the  Dome  of  the  Rock  and  the  Aksa  Mosque. 
Further,  'Ukbah  states  that  in  those  days  there  were  six  thousand 
beams  of  wood  used  for  the  ceilings,  besides  the  beams  for 
the  wooden  pillars ;  and  the  doors  were  fifty  in  number.  There 
were  six  hundred  pillars  of  marble,  and  seven  Mihrabs,  and  of 
chains  for  suspending  the  candelabra  four  hundred,  less  fifteen 
(that  is  three  hundred  and  eighty-five),  of  which  two  hundred  and 
thirty  were  in  the  Aksa  Mosque,  and  the  remainder  (namely,  one 
hundred  and  fifty-five)  in  the  Dome  of  the  Rock.  The  length  of 
all  these  chains  put  together  was  4,000  ells,  and  their  weight 
43,000  Syrian  (pounds  or)  ratls.*  There  were  five  thousand 
lamps ;  and,  in  addition  to  these,  they  were  wont  to  light  two 
thousand  wax  candles  on  the  Friday  nights,  and  on  the  middle 
nights  of  the  months  of  Rajab,  Sha'aban,  and  Ramadhan,  as  also 
on  the  nights  of  the  Two  (Great)  Festivals.  (In  the  various  parts 
of  the  Haram  Area)  are  fifteen  (small)  domes,  besides  the  (Great) 
Dome  of  the  Rock ;  and  on  the  Mosque-roof  there  were  seven 
thousand  seven  hundred  sheets  of  lead,  each  sheet  weighing  70 
ratls,  Syrian  measure  (420  Ibs.).  And  this  did  not  include  what 
was  on  the  roof  which  covered  the  Dome  of  the  Rock.  All  this 
was  of  that  which  was  done  in  the  days  of  'Abd  al  Malik.  And 
this  Khalif  appointed  for  the  perpetual  service  of  the  Noble 
Sanctuary  three  hundred  servants,  who  were  (slaves)  purchased 
with  moneys  of  the  Royal  Fifth  from  the  Treasury ;  and  as  these 
servants  in  time  died  off,  each  man's  son,  or  his  son's  son,  or 
some  member  of  his  family,  was  appointed  in  his  place.  And  so 
the  service  hath  continued  on  for  all  time,  generation  after  genera- 
tion ;  and  they  receive  their  rations  from  the  public  treasury. 

"  In  the  Haram  Area  there  are  twenty-four  great  water  cisterns, 
and  of  minarets  four — to  wit,  three  in  a  line  on  the  west  side  of 

*  258,000  Ibs. 


the  Noble  Sanctuary,  and  one  that  rises  above  the  Bab  al  Asbat 
(the  (late  of  the  Tribes).  And  among  the  servants  of  the  Haram 
there  were  Jews,  from  whom  was  exacted  no  poll-tax.  Originally 
there  were  but  ten  men,  but,  their  families  increasing,  the  number 
rose  to  twenty ;  and  it  was  their  business  to  sweep  away  the  dust 
left  by  the  people  at  the  times  of  visitation,  both  in  summer  and 
in  winter,  and  also  to  clean  the  places  of  ablution  that  lay  round 
the  Aksa  Mosque.  There  were  also  ten  Christian  servants  of  the 
Noble  Sanctuary,  whose  office  went  by  inheritance  after  the  same 
fashion.  These  made,  and  likewise  swept,  the  mats  of  the 
Mosque.  They  also  swept  out  the  conduits  which  carried  the 
water  into  the  cisterns,  and,  further,  attended  to  the  keeping  clean 
of  the  cisterns  themselves,  and  other  such  service.  And  among 
the  servants  of  the  Sanctuary,  too,  were  another  company  of- 
jews,  who  made  the  glass  plates  for  the  lamps,  and  the  glass: 
lantern  bowls,  and  glass  vessels  and  rods.  And  it  was  appointed  • 
that  from  these  men  also  no  poll-tax  was  to  be  taken,  nor  from 
those  who  made  the  wicks  for  the  lamps  ;  and  this  exemption 
continued  in  force  for  all  time,  both  to  them  and  their  children 
who  inherited  the  office  after  them,  even  from  the  days  of  'Abd  al  - 
Malik,  and  for  ever. 

"  Al  VValid  further  writes — on  the  warranty  of  Abu  'Amir  ibn 
Damrah,  who  reported  it  on  the  authority  of  'Ata,  who  had  it  of 
his  father — that  in  early  days  it  was  the  Jews  who  were  appointed 
to  light  the  lamps  in  the  Noble  Sanctuary,  but  that  when  the 
Khalif  'Omar  ibn  'Abd  al  'Aziz  came  to  reign,  he  deprived  them 
of  this  office,  and  set  in  their  place  servants  who  had  been  pur- 
chased with  moneys  of  the  Royal  Fifth.  And  a  certain  man  of 
these  servants — a  slave  bought  of  the  Royal  Fifth — came  once  to 
him,  and  said :  '  Give  me  manumission,  O  Khalif !'  But  'Omar 
answered  :  '  How  then  !  verily  I  cannot  emancipate  thee  !  but 
shouldst  thou  depart  (of  thine  own  accord),  behold  I  have  no 
power  over  a  hair  even  of  the  hairs  of  thy  dog  !'  "* 

Such  are  the  traditional  (or  apocryphal)  accounts,  very  probably, 
for  the  most  part,  an  invention  of  the  fourteenth  century,  which 

*  Mujir  ad  Din,  who  gives  the  anecdote,  has  "  a  hair  of  the  hairs  of  thy 
body  "  in  place  of  "  of  thy  dog."  (M.  a.  D.,  250.) 


A.  Bab  Baud,  Gate  of  David. 

B.  Bab  as  Sakar,  Gate  of  Hell. 

C.  Gate  leading  to  the  Cloisters  of  the  Sufis. 

D.  Bab  al  Asbat,  Gate  of  the  Tribes. 

E.  Bab  al  Abwab,  Gate  of  Gates. 

F.  Bab  al  Taubah,  Gate  of  Repentance. 

G.  Bab  ar  Rahmah,  Gate  of  Mercy. 

H.  The  ancient  Bab  al  Burak,  or  Bab  al  Janaiz,  Gate  of  the  Funerals. 
I.  Ancient  "  Single  Gate"\     /One  of  these  is  the  Bab  al  'Ain,  Gate 
J.  Ancient  "  Triple  Gate  "  J  "  \     of  the  Spring. 
K.  Bab  an  Nabi,  Gate  of  the  Prophet,  the  ancient  "  Double  Gate." 
L.  Steps  leading  down  to  the  subterranean  Passage-way  of  this  Gate. 
M.  Bab  Hittah,  Gate  of  Remission. 
N.  Dome  of  the  Chain. 
O.  Kubbat  ar  Rasul,  Dome  of  the  Prophet. 
P.   Kubbat  Jibrall,  Dome  of  Gabriel. 

Q.  Stairway,  called  Makam  an  Nabi,  Station  of  the  Prophet. 
R.   Stairway,  called  Makam  Ghuri. 

'  >  Western  Stairways. 

U.  Northern  Stairway,  called  Makam  Shami. 

V.  Eastern  Stairway,  called  Makam  Sharki, 

W.  Oratory  of  Zachariah. 

X.  Dome  of  Jacob. 

Y.  Small  Mosque,  of  old  a  Hall. 

Z.  Steps  leading  down  to  the  Mosque  of  the  Cradle  of  Jesus. 

a.  Colonnade  of  Archesx 

"       L  Along  the  West  Wall. 
c'  »  "1 



e.  V 

Colonnades  along  the  North  Wall. 


g.  Colonnade  of  forty-two  arches,  along  South  Wall,  joining  the  Western 



a.   n 

-    > 

J  AH  AN  NUM.    ,     TH 


purport  to  relate  the  events  of  'Omar's  conquest,  and  'Abd  al 
Malik's  buildings,  in  the  seventh  century  of  our  era.  How  much 
credence  should  be  placed  in  them  it  is  difficult  to  say.  They 
rest,  doubtless,  on  some  foundation  of  fact ;  but  the  form  of  the 
greater  part  of  the  narratives  is  very  evidently  apocryphal. 

We  may  now  return  to  the  older  Chronicles  and  Geographers, 
whose  accounts  are  more  worthy  of  credence,  and  their  authorities 
more  easily  controlled,  and  we  shall  resume  the  subject  of  the 
description  of  the  Haram  Area,  proceeding  to  quote  the  earlier 
accounts  concerning  the  various  buildings,  other  than  the  Aksa 
Mosque  and  the  Dome  of  the  Rock,  which  occupy  the  area  of  the 
Noble  Sanctuary. 


A  few  paces  east  of  the  Dome  of  the  Rock  stands  a  small 
cupola,  supported  on  pillars,  but  without  any  enclosing  wall, 
except  at  the  Kiblah  point,  south,  where  two  of  the  pillars  have  a 
piece  of  wall,  forming  the  Mihrab,  built  up  in  between  them.  This 
is  called  Kubbat  as  Silsilah — "  the  Dome  of  the  Chain."  As  early 
as  913  it  is  mentioned  by  Ibn  'Abd  Rabbih  as  "the  Dome  where, 
during  the  times  of  the  children  of  Israel,  there  hung  down  the 
chain  that  gave  judgment  (of  truth  and  lying)  between  them." 
(I.  R.,  iii.  368.) 

According  to  the  most  generally  accepted  tradition,  King  David 
received  from  the  angel  Gabriel,  not  a  chain,  but  an  iron  rod, 
with  the  command  to  span  it  across  his  judgment-hall,  and  on  it 
to  hang  a  bell.  When  the  rod  was  touched  in  turn  by  plaintiff 
and  defendant,  the  bell  sounded  for  the  one  with  whom  the  right 
lay.*  The  Arab  Geographers,  however,  all  speak  of  a  chain  ; 
and  Yakut,  describing  this  Dome,  particularly  mentions  that  it 
was  here  that  was  "hung  the  chain  which  allowed  itself  to  be 
grasped  by  him  who  spoke  the  truth,  but  could  not  be  touched  by 
him  who  gave  false  witness,  until  he  had  renounced  his  craft,  and 
repented  him  of  his  sin."  (Yak.,  iv.  593.) 

The  Dome  of  the  Chain  is  also  mentioned  by  Ibn  'Abd 
Rabbih's  contemporary,  Ibn  al  Fakih,  who  describes  it  as,  in  his 
*  See  Weil,  Biblische  Legenden  der  Muse/manner,  p.  215. 


day,  "  supported  on  twenty  marble  columns,  and  its  roof  is 
covered  with  sheets  of  lead."  (I.  F.,  101.)  In  Mukaddasi's  days 
the  Dome  of  the  Chain  is  also  described  as  merely  a  cupola, 
"  supported  on  marble  pillars,  being  without  walls."  (Muk., 

So  frail  a  structure  would,  doubtless,  have  frequently  suffered 
damage  by  the  earthquakes,  which,  as  is  recorded,  threw  down 
many  of  the  buildings  in  the  Haram  Area.  And  this  circum- 
stance will  explain  the  varying  accounts  given  at  different  times 
of  the  number  of  the  pillars.  At  the  present  day  there  are 
six  in  an  inner  circle,  supporting  the  cupola,  and  eleven  in  the 
outer,  two  of  these  being  built  into  the  Mihrab.  This  gives  a 
total  of  seventeen  pillars  (see  plan  facing  p.  114). 

The  Persian  traveller  Nasir,  writing  in  1047,  gives  the  following 
description  of  the  building  he  visited  (see  plan,  p.  126)  : 

"  Besides  the  Dome  of  the  Rock  there  is  (on  the  platform)  the 
dome  called  Kubbat  as  Silsilah  (or  the  Dome  of  the  Chain).  The 
'  Chain '  is  that  which  David — peace  be  upon  him  ! — hung  up, 
and  it  was  so  that  none  who  spoke  not  the  truth  could  grasp  it ; 
the  unjust  and  the  wicked  man  could  not  lay  hand  on  it,  which 
same  is  a  certified  fact,  and  well  known  to  the  learned.  This 
Dome  is  supported  on  eight  marble  columns,  and  six  stone  piers  ; 
and  on  all  sides  it  is  open,  except  on  the  side  towards  the  Kiblah 
point,  which  is  built  up,  and  forms  a  beautiful  Mihrab."  (N.  Kh., 

Idrisi,  in  1154,  writing  probably  from  Christian  accounts,  and 
at  a  time  when  the  Holy  City  was  in  the  occupation  of  the 
Crusaders,  speaks  of  the  Dome  of  the  Chain  as  "the  Church 
which  is  called  the  Holy  of  Holies."  (See  above,  p.  131.)  Ac- 
cording to  the  author  of  the  Citez  de  JJierusalem,  a  work  of  about 
the  year  1225,  the  building  was  in  his  day  known  to  the  Christians 
as  "the  Chapel  of  St.  James  the  Less,  because  it  was  here  he 
was  martyred,  when  the  Jews  threw  him  down  from  the  Temple."* 
Saladin,  after  reconquering  the  Holy  City  (1187),  must  have  put 
back  the  Dome  of  the  Chain  to  its  original  use  as  a  Muslim 
oratory.  According  to  Mujir  ad  Din,  the  Dome  of  the  Chain  was 
*  Palestine  Pilgrim's  Text,  p.  13. 


rebuilt  by  the  Egyptian  Sultan  Baibars,  who  reigned  from  1260  — 
1277.  (M.  a.  D.,  434.) 

It  is  often  stated  that  the  Dome  of  the  Chain  was  first  built  to 
serve  as  the  model,  from  which  the  architects  of  'Abd  al  Malik 
subsequently  erected  the  Great  Dome  of  the  Rock.  This  idea  is, 
I  believe,  found  in  no  Arab  writer  previous  to  Mujir  ad  Din 
(1496).  Suyuti  (see  above,  p.  145),  from  whom  he  copies  most 
of  his  descriptions,  has  not  a  word  of  this;  and  Mujir  ad  Din 
apparently  either  himself  invented  the  idea  of  the  Dome  of  the 
Chain  having  been  built  as  a  model,  or  else  inserted  it  as  the 
account  current  among  the  learned  of  his  own  day.  Mujir  ad 
Din's  statement  is  as  follows  : 

"  It  is  said  that  (the  Khalif)  'Abd  al  Malik  described  what  he 
desired  in  the  matter  and  manner  of  the  building  of  the  Dome 
(of  the  Rock)  to  his  architects,  and  they,  while  he  sojourned  in 
the  Holy  City,  built  the  small  dome  which  stands  to  the  east  of 
the  Dome  of  the  Rock,  and  is  called  the  Dome  of  the  Chain." 
A  few  lines  before,  Mujir  ad  Din  further  states  that  the  Khalif 
laid  up  the  seven  years'  tribute  of  Egypt,  which  had  been  amassed 
for  the  building  expenses  of  the  Dome  of  the  Rock — "  in  the 
Dome  which  stood  over  against  the  Rock  on  the  eastern  side,  and 
which  he  had  caused  to  be  built  here  near  the  olive-tree.  This  he 
made  his  store-chamber,  filling  it  with  the  moneys."  (M.  a.  D.,  241.) 

Mujir  ad  Din  further  describes  the  Dome  of  the  Chain  as  in  his 
day  "  supported  by  seventeen  columns,  not  counting  the  two  (on 
either  side)  of  the  Mihrab."  (M.  a.  D.,  372.)  At  the  present 
day,  as  has  been  noted  above,  there  are  seventeen  columns  in  all, 
including  those  in  the  Mihrab,  so  that  apparently  since  1496  some 
alterations  have  been  effected  in  this  building. 

Minor  Domes. — Besides  the  Great  Dome  of  the  Rock,  and  the 
smaller  Dome  of  the  Chain  to  the  east  of  it,  there  have  at  all  times 
stood  on  the  Platform  at  least  two  other  smaller  Domes,  built  to 
commemorate  the  incidents  of  the  Prophet's  Night  Journey. 
These  edifices  were  of  so  frail  a  structure  as  constantly  to  have 
suffered  by  the  shocks  of  earthquake,  and  it  is  not  surprising  to 
find  some  confusion  in  the  names  under  which  they  are  described 
at  various  dates. 


In  903,  according  to  Ibn  al  Fakih,  "in  the  northern  part  (of  the 
platform)  are  (i)  the  Dome  of  the  Prophet,  (2)  and  the  Station  of 
Gabriel  ;  (3)  while  near  the  Sakhrah  (the  Dome  of  the  Rock)  is 
the  Dome  of  the  Ascension."  His  contemporary,  Ibn  'Abd 
Rabbih,  on  the  other  hand,  mentions  "(i)  the  Dome  whence  the 
Prophet  made  his  ascent  into  Heaven  ;  (2)  the  Dome  over  the 
spot  where  the  Prophet  prayed  (in  communion)  with  the  (former) 
Prophets;  ...  (3)  further  the  Praying-place  of  Jibrail."  Mukad- 
dasi  (who  wrote  in  985)  states  that  the  two  Minor  Domes  were 
called  "  the  Dome  of  the  Ascension,  and  the  Dome  of  the 
Prophet."  According  to  Nasir's  account  in  1047,  m  n^s  day  the 
two  were  known  as  the  Dome  of  the  Prophet,  and  the  Dome  of 

From  these  various  statements  the  conclusion  presumably  to  be 
drawn  is,  that  of  the  two  domes  lying  north-west  of  the  Sakhrah ; 
that  standing  furthest  to  the  west  was  in  Ibn  al  Fakih's  time 
called  "(i)  the  Dome  of  the  Prophet;"  and  this  is  identical  with 
that  mentioned  by  Ibn  'Abd  Rabbih  as  "(2)  the  Dome  where  the 
Prophet  prayed,"  with  Mukaddasi's  "  Dome  of  the  Prophet,"  also 
described  a  little  later  under  the  same  name  by  Nasir-i-Khusrau. 
The  Dome,  occupying  the  position  of  the  one  here  spoken  of,  goes 
at  the  present  day  by  the  .name  of  the  Kubbat  al  Mi  raj  ,  the  Dome 
of  the  Ascension.  (Plan  at  the  end  of  the  present  chapter,  R.) 

Between  the  present  Dome  of  the  Ascension  and  the  Great 
Dome  of  the  Rock,  there  would  seem  to  have  stood  in  old  days 
a  second  Minor  Dome,  occupying  the  position  of  the  present 
Dome  or  Prayer-Station  of  the  Angel  Gabriel.  (Plan  at  the  end 
of  the  chapter,  at  S.)  P'rom  very  early  times,  however,  the  names 
of  these  Minor  Domes  would  appear  to  have  been  constantly 
interchanged  or  altered.  Thus  this  second  Dome  is  called  by 
Jbn  al  Fakih  "(3)  the  Dome  of  the  Ascension;"  by  Ibn  'Abd 
Rabbih  "(i)  the  Dome  whence  the  Prophet  ascended;"  by 
Mukaddasi  "the  Dome  of  the  Ascension;"  and  by  Nasir  "the 
Dome  of  Gabriel."  Further,  besides  these  two  Domes,  Ibn  al 
Fakih,  and  Ibn  'Abd  Rabbih,  both  mention  "  the  Praying-Station 
of  Gabriel,"  which  is  not  spoken  of  by  either  Mukaddasi  or  Nasir. 

The  only  actual  description  of  the  two  Minor  Domes,  stand- 


ing  to  the  north-west  of  the  Sakhrah,  previous  to  the  Crusades  is 
that  left  us  by  Nasir-i-Khusrau  in  1047.  After  describing  the 
I  )ome  of  the  Rock  and  the  Dome  of  the  Chain,  he  continues : 

"  And  again,  on  the  platform,  is  another  Dome,  that  surmounts 
four  marble  columns.  This,  too,  on  the  Kiblah  side,  is  walled  in, 
forming  a  fine  Mihrab.  It  is  called  Kubbat  Jibrail  (the  Dome  of 
Gabriel);  and  there  are  no  carpets  spread  here,  for  its  floor  is 
formed  by  the  live-rock,  that  has  been  here  made  smooth.  They 
say  that  on  the  night  of  the  Mi'raj  (the  Ascent  into  Heaven)  the 
steed  Burak  was  tied  up  at  this  spot,  until  the  Prophet — peace 
and  benediction  be  upon  him  ! — was  ready  to  mount.  Lastly, 
there  is  yet  another  Dome,  lying  20  cubits  distant  from  the  Dome 
of  Gabriel,  and  it  is  called  Kubbat  ar  Rasul  (or  the  Dome  of  the 
Prophet) —peace  and  benediction  be  upon  him!  This  Dome, 
likewise,  is  set  upon  four  marble  piers."  (N.  Kh.,  49.) 

To  what  purpose  these  Minor  Domes  were  put  during  the 
occupation  of  the  Holy  City  by  the  Crusaders  is  unknown. 
Shortly  after  Saladin  had  reconquered  Jerusalem  in  1187,  what 
is  now  known  of  the  Dome  of  the  Ascension  was  rebuilt,  having 
fallen  to  ruin.  Mujir  ad  Din,  writing  in  1496,  states  : 

"The  present  Dome  of  the  Ascension  was  rebuilt  in  597  (1200) 
by  the  governor  of  Jerusalem,  'Izz  ad  Din  'Othman  ibn  'Ali 
Az  Zanjili,  the  more  ancient  Dome  having  fallen  to  ruin." 
(M.  a.  D.,  373.)  An  inscription  giving  this  date  may  still  be  read 
on  the  present  Kubbat  al  Mi'raj. 

The  position  of  the  minor  Dome,  known  of  old  as  the  Dome  of 
the  Prophet,  appears  to  have  been  a  matter  of  controversy  among 
the  learned  in  the  days  that  followed  the  Muslim  re-occupation  of 
Jerusalem.  Yakut  (1225)  refers  to  it  as  the  Dome  of  An  Nabi 
Daud—t\\Q  Prophet  David.  (Yak.,  iv.  594.)  This  change  of 
name  from  Muhammad  to  David  is  probably  what  led  Suytiti, 
writing  in  1470,  to  put  forward  the  following  theory  for  the 
identification  of  the  older  Dome  of  the  Prophet,  as  described  by 
Muslim  writers  previous  to  the  time  of  the  Crusaders.  Suyuti's 
indentification  of  this  Dome  of  the  Prophet  with  the  Dome  of  the 
Chain  has  not,  it  will  be  noted,  been  adopted  by  subsequent 
authorities.  Suyuti  writes  : 


"  The  Dome  named  the  Dome  of  the  Prophet  is,  as  I  under- 
stand it,  the  one  which  lies  to  the  east  of  the  Sakhrah,  being  also 
called  the  Dome  of  the  Chain.  It  was  built  by  the  Khalif  'Abd  al 
Malik.  For  I  would  point  out  that  in  the  Haram  Area,  beside 
the  Dome  of  the  Ascension,  there  are  but  two  other  Domes.  One, 
a  small  Dome,  stands  at  the  edge  of  the  Sakhrah  Platform,  on  the 
right  hand  side  of  the  northernmost  of  the  steps  leading  up  to  the 
Platform  from  the  west.*  I  believe  at  the  present  day  this  is  in  the 
hands  of  certain  of  the  servants  of  the  Noble  Sanctuary,  and  is  put  to 
some  use  on  their  part ;  certainly  no  one  in  the  Holy  City  con- 
siders this  to  be  the  Dome  of  the  Prophet.  The  only  other  Dome 
(in  the  Haram  Area)  stands  back  near  the  Gate  of  the  Noble 
Sanctuary,  on  the  northern  side,  called  the  Gate  of  the  Glory 
of  the  Prophets,  known  also  as  the  Bab  ad  Dawadariyyah.  This 
is  called  the  Dome  of  Sulaiman — not  after  the  Prophet  Solomon, 
but  perhaps  after  Sulaiman,  the  son  of  the  Khalif  'Abd  al  Malik. 
As  to  the  Dome  of  the  Ascension,  it  is,  as  everybody  knows, 
on  the  Platform  of  the  Sakhrah,  and  is  much  visited  by  the 
pilgrims.  Hence,  therefore,  it  is  likely  that  what  Al  Musharraf, 
and  the  author  of  the  Mustaksa  and  of  the  Bffith  an  Nufus, 
referred  to  under  the  name  of  the  Dome  of  the  Prophet,  is  that 
now  known  as  the  Dome  of  the  Chain,  which  was  built  by  the 
Khalif  'Abdal  Malik." 

"  Now,  as  to  the  place  where  the  Prophet  prayed,  in  the  com- 
pany of  the  former  Prophets  and  the  Angels,  it  is  said  that  this 
spot  is  beside  the  Dome  of  the  Ascension,  where,  on  the  Platform 
of  the  Sakhrah,  there  used  to  stand  a  beautiful  Dome.  When,  how- 
ever, they  flagged  the  Platform  of  Sakhrah,  they  did  away  with 
this  Dome,  and  set  in  its  place  a  handsome  Mihrab,  the  floor  of 
which  is  laid  in  a  circle  with  red  marble  slabs,  after  the  manner  of 
other  parts  of  the  Sakhrah  Court.  This,  then,  as  it  is  said,  in  the 
place  occupied  by  this  Mihrab,  is  where  the  Prophet  made  his 
prayer  with  the  Angels  and  Prophets.  He  then  advanced  a  step 
forward  from  that  place,  and  there  rose  up  before  him  a  ladder  of 
gold  and  a  ladder  of  silver,  and  thereby  he  ascended  into  Heaven." 
(S.,  260,  261  ;  the  last  paragraph  is  copied  by  M.  a.  D.,  374.) 
•>'  At  present  known  as  Kubbat  al  Khidr,  the  Dome  of  St.  George. 


The  Platform  and  Stairways. — The  Platform  occupying  the 
centre  of  the  Haram  Area,  on  which  stand  the  Dome  of  the  Rock 
and  the  other  minor  Domes,  according  to  Ibn  al  Fakih,  measured 
in  his  days  (903)  "  300  ells  in  length,  by  140  ells  across,  and 
its  height  is  9  ells."  (I.  F.,  100.)  Taking  the  ell  to  be  the  royal 
ell,  measuring  i  \  feet  (the  evaluation  derived  from  the  dimensions 
recorded  of  the  Dome  of  the  Rock),  this  gives  450  feet,  by  210, 
and  is  considerably  less  than  the  measurement  of  the  present  Plat- 
form, which  is,  taking  the  mean  of  length  and  breadth,  540  feet  by 
465  feet.  In  1047  we  have  Nasir-i-Khusrau's  measurements 
recorded,  namely,  "  330  cubits  by  300  ";  but  the  cubit  (in  the 
Persian  Arsh)  here  used  is  the  long  cubit  of  nearly  2  feet. 
This,  if  the  figures  be  correct,  gives  rather  under  660  feet,  by 
600  feet,a  nd  would  go  to  prove  that  at  Nasir's  date,  just  pre- 
vious to  the  Crusades,  the  Platform  was  somewhat  larger  than 
it  is  at  present.  Further,  it  had  apparently  been  raised  in  the 
height  since  Ibn  al  Fakih's  days.  Then  it  was  9  (shorter)  ells,  or 
13^  feet,  above  the  level  of  the  Court ;  in  Nasir's  time  it  was 
12  (longer)  ells,  somewhat  under  24  feet  high.  At  the  present  day 
the  upper  level  is  only  some  10  feet  above  that  of  the  rest  of  the 
Haram  Area. 

Mujir  ad  Din,  writing  at  the  close  of  the  fifteenth  century,  gives 
the  measures  he  himself  had  made,  which  prove  that  in  his  day 
the  Platform  must  have  occupied  exactly  the  same  lines  it  does  at 
the  present  time.  The  measurement  he  uses  is  the  Workman's  ell, 
which  was  approximately  2\  English  feet.  The  following  is  a 
translation  from  his  text : 

"  The  dimensions  of  the  Platform  (Sahn)  of  the  Sakhrah  are 
these :  From  the  South  Wall,  between  the  two  stairways,  the  line 
passing  between  the  East  Gate  of  the  Dome  of  the  Rock  and  the 
Dome  of  the  Chain,  up  to  the  North  Wall,  opposite  the  Bab 
Hittah,  measures  235  ells.  From  the  East  Wall,  over  against  the 
Olive-trees  that  are  near  the  Kubbat  at  Tumar  (the  Dome  of  the 
Roll),  to  the  West  Wall  opposite  the  Sultan's  Madrasah,  measures 
189  ells  of  the  Workman's  ell."  (M.  a.  D.,  377.) 

Ibn  al  Fakih  states  that  the  platform  was  (in  903)  ascended  by  six 
flights  of  steps.  Mukaddasi,  about  eighty  years  later,  says  there 


were  four  stairways  leading  up  from  the  four  sides ;  Nasir-i- 
Khusrau,  in  1052,  however,  gives  six  again  as  the  number  of  the 
stairways,  and  he  adds  the  following  description  of  the  Platform 
and  its  stairways : 

"  In  the  middle  of  the  Court  of  the  Haram  Area  is  the  Plat- 
form, and  set  in  the  midst  thereof  is  the  Sakhrah  (Rock)  which, 
before  the  revelation  of  Islam,  was  the  Kiblah  (or  point  turned  to 
in  prayer).  The  Platform  was  constructed  by  reason  that  the 
Rock,  being  high,  could  not  be  brought  within  the  compass  of  the 
Main-building  (of  the  Aksa  Mosque).  Wherefore  the  foundations 
of  this  Platform  were  laid,  measuring  330  cubits  by  300,  and  the 
height  thereof  12  ells.  The  surface  of  the  same  is  level,  and 
beautifully  paved  with  slabs  of  marble,  with  walls  the  like,  all  the 
joints  being  riveted  with  lead.  Along  the  edge  of  its  four  sides 
are  parapets  of  marble  blocks  that  fence  it  round,  so  that,  except 
by  the  openings  left  especially  therefor,  you  cannot  enter.  From 
the  Platform  you  command  a  view  over  the  roofs  of  the  (Aksa) 
Mosque.  There  is  an  underground  tank  in  the  midst  of  the  Plat- 
form, whereto  is  collected,  by  means  of  conduits,  all  the  rain-water 
that  falls  on  the  Platform  itself;  and  the  water  of  this  tank  is 
sweeter  and  purer  than  is  the  water  of  any  other  of  the  tanks 
in  the  Haram  Area." 

"  Now,  regarding  the  stairways  that  lead  up  on  to  the  platform 
from  the  court  of  the  Noble  Sanctuary,  these  are  six  in  number, 
each  with  its  own  name.  On  the  side  (south)  towards  the  Kiblah, 
there  are  two  flights  of  steps  that  go  up  on  to  the  platform.  As 
you  stand  by  the  middle  of  the  retaining  wall  of  the  platform 
(facing  south),  there  is  one  flight  to  the  right  hand  and  another 
to  the  left.  That  lying  on  the  right  is  called  Makam  an  Nabi 
(the  Prophet's  Station) — peace  be  upon  him  ! — and  that  lying 
on  the  left  is  called  Makam  Ghuri  (or  the  Station  of  Ghuri). 
The  stairway  of  the  Prophet's  Station  is  so  called  because 
that  on  the  night  of  his  ascent,  the  Prophet — upon  him  be 
peace  and  blessing ! — went  up  to  the  platform  thereby,  going 
thence  to  the  Dome  of  the  Rock.  And  the  road  hither  from 
the  Hijjaz  comes  by  this  stair.  At  the  present  day  this  stairway 
is  20  cubits  broad,  and  each  step  is  a  rectangular  block  of  care- 


fully  chiselled  stone  in  one  piece,  or  sometimes  in  two.  The 
steps  are  laid  in  such  fashion  that  it  would  be  possible  to  ride  on 
horseback  up  the  stairway  to  the  platform.  At  the  top  of  this 
stairway  are  four  piers  of  marble,  green,  like  the  emerald,  only 
that  the  marble  is  variegated  with  numberless  coloured  spots ;  and 
these  pillars  are  TO  cubits  in  height,  and  so  thick  that  it  would 
take  two  men  to  encompass  them.  Above  the  capitals  of  these 
four  pillars  rise  three  arches — one  opposite  the  gate,  and  one  on 
either  side ;  and  (the  masonry)  crowning  the  arches  is  flat-topped 
and  rectangular,  with  battlements  and  a  cornice  set  on  it.  These 
pillars  and  the  arches  are  ornamented  in  gold  and  enamel-work, 
than  which  none  can  be  finer. 

"The  balustrade  round  the  (edge  of  the)  platform  is  of  green 
marble,  variegated  with  spots,  so  that  one  would  say  it  was  a 
meadow  covered  with  flowers  in  bloom.  The  stairway  of  Makam 
Ghuri  consists  of  a  triple  flight,  and  the  three  lead  up  together  on 
to  the  platform — one  in  the  middle,  and  two  on  either  side — so 
that  by  three  ways  can  people  go  up.  At  the  summit  of  each  of 
the  three  flights  are  columns  supporting  arches  with  a  cornice. 
Each  step  is  skilfully  cut  of  squared  stone,  as  before  described,  and 
each  may  consist  of  two  or  three  blocks  in  the  length.  Over  the 
arcade  above  is  set  a  beautiful  inscription  in  gold,  stating  that  the 
same  was  constructed  by  command  of  the  Amir  Laith  ad  Daulah 
Nushtakin  Ghtiri ;  and  they  told  me  that  this  Laith  ad  Daulah 
had  been  a  servant  of  the  Sultan  of  Egypt,  and  had  caused  these 
steps  and  gangways  to  be  built. 

"On  the  western  side  of  the  platform  there  are,  likewise,  two 
flights  of  steps  leading  up  thereon,  and  constructed  with  the  same 
skill  as  those  I  have  just  described.  On  the  east  side  there  is 
but  one  flight.  It  is  built  after  a  like  fashion  to  the  foregoing, 
with  columns  and  an  arch  with  battlements  above,  and  it  is 
named  Makam  Sharki  (or  the  Eastern  Station).  On  the  northern 
side  (of  the  platform)  there  is  also  a  single  stairway,  but  it  is 
higher  and  broader  than  are  any  of  the  others.  As  with  those, 
there  are  here  columns  and  arches  built  (at  the  top  of  the  flight), 
and  it  goes  by  the  name  of  Makam  Shdmi  (that  is,  the  Syrian  or 
Northern  Station).  According  to  the  estimate  I  made,  these  six 


flights  of  steps  must  have  had  expended  upon  them  100,000  dinars 
or  (,£50,000)."  (N.  Kh.,  43-45-) 

Nushtakin  Ghuri,  here  spoken  of,  was  a  Turk  who  commanded 
the  armies  of  the  Fatimite  Khalif  Adh  Dhahir.  From  having 
originally  been  a  slave  in  Khoten,  he  rose  to  become  Governor 
of  Syria,  where  he  ruled  between  the  years  1028 — 1041,  shortly 
before  Nasir's  visit. 

The  Court  of  the  Hararn  Area. — The  early  accounts  which 
describe  the  various  buildings — Domes,  Mihrabs,  and  Oratories — 
found  scattered  over  the  great  court  of  the  Haram  Area  make 
mention  of  edifices,  some  of  which,  with  the  lapse  of  time, 
have  now  completely  disappeared,  while  others,  having  changed 
their  names,  can  only  doubtfully  be  identified  with  the  existing 

During  the  eighty-eight  years  that  Jerusalem  remained  in  the 
hands  of  the  Crusaders,  the  buildings  of  the  Haram  Area  were 
turned  to  various  purposes  —  religious  or  domestic  —  by  the 
Templars,  to  whom  the  Noble  Sanctuary  had  been  granted. 
When  Saladin  retook  the  Holy  City,  it  was  in  the  third  generation, 
counting  from  those  who  had  been  dispossessed  by  Godfrey  de 
Bouillon,  and  many  of  the  Muslim  traditions  attached  to  the  then 
extant  buildings  of  the  Haram  Area  had  doubtless  been  forgotten 
or  become  falsified. 

Of  the  Haram  Area  in  general,  in  the  beginning  of  the  tenth 
century  we  have  two  accounts  (dating  from  903  and  913),  which, 
judging  from  their  points  of  coincidence,  may  possibly  have  been 
derived  from  the  same  source.  It  is  not  certain  whether  either 
of  the  respective  authors  of  these  accounts  (Ibn  al  Fakih  and 
Ibn  'Abd  Rabbih)  ever  personally  visited  the  places  they  purpose 
to  describe.  Portions  of  these  accounts  have  been  frequently 
copied  by  subsequent  writers,  and  notably  by  Suyuti,  from  whom 
Mujir  ad  Din  has  so  freely  plagiarized.  (See  above,  p.  148.) 
Some  of  the  details  mentioned  in  these  two  accounts  have  already 
been  commented  upon  in  the  foregoing  pages ;  the  description  of 
the  other  small  buildings  described  as  occupying  the  Haram  Area 
in  the  tenth  century  will  now  be  noted  and  compared  with  the 
accounts  that  have  come  down  to  us  from  other  sources.  First, 


however,  it  will  be  well  to  give  complete  translations  of  the  two 
descriptions  of  the  Haram  Area. 

Ihn  al  Fakih's  description,  written  in  903,  is  as  follows: 

"  It  is  said  that  the  length  of  the  Noble  Sanctuary  at  Jerusalem 
is  1,000  ells,  and  its  width  700  ells.  There  are  (in  its  buildings) 
four  thousand  beams  of  wood,  seven  hundred  pillars  (of  stone), 
and  five  hundred  brass  chains.  It  is  lighted  every  night  by  one 
thousand  six  hundred  lamps,  and  it  is  served  by  one  hundred  and 
forty  slaves.  The  monthly  allowance  of  olive-oil  is  100  kists,* 
and  yearly  they  provide  800,000  ells  of  matting,  also  twenty-five 
thousand  water-jars.  Within  the  Noble  Sanctuary  are  sixteen 
chests  for  the  volumes  of  the  Kuran  set  apart  for  public  service, 
and  these  manuscripts  are  the  admiration  of  all  men.  There  are 
four  pulpits  for  voluntary  preachers,  and  one  set  apart  for  the 
salaried  preacher ;  and  there  are  also  four  tanks  for  the  ablutions. 
On  the  various  roofs  (of  the  Mosque  and  domes),  in  place  of  clay, 
are  used  forty-five  thousand  sheets  of  lead.  To  the  right  hand  of 
the  Mihrab  (in  the  Aksa  Mosque)  is  a  slab  on  which,  in  a  circle, 
is  written  the  name  of  Mohammed — the  blessing  of  Allah  be 
upon  him  .'—and  on  a  white  stone  behind  the  Kiblah  (wall,  to  the 
south)  is  the  inscription  :  In  the  name  of  Allah  the  Merciful,  the 
Compassionate,  Mohammed  is  Allah's  Apostle.  JrJamzah  ivas  his 
helper,  f  Within  the  Mosque  are  three  Maksurahs  (or  railed 
spaces)  for  the  women,  each  Maksurah  being  70  ells  in  length. 
There  are  within  and  without  (the  Noble  Sanctuary)  in  all  fifty 
gates  (and  doors)." 

Next  follows  the  description  of  the  Dome  of  the  Rock  and  the 
minor  domes  already  translated  (p.  120).  Ibn  al  Fakih  then 
continues  : 

11  Among  the  gates  (of  the  Haram  Area)  are  Bab  Daud,  Bab 
Hittah,  Bab  an  Nabi  (Gate  of  the  Prophet),  Bab  at  Taubah  (Gate 
of  Repentance),  and  there  is  here  the  Mihrab  Maryam  (Prayer- 
niche  of  Mary),  Bab  al  Wadi,  Bab  ar  Rahmah  (Gate  of  Mercy), 
with  the  Mihrab  Zakariyya,  Abwab  al  Asbat  (the  Gates  of  the 

*  The    Kist   (from    the    Greek    Ee<rr?;c,   and    the    Roman    Sextarius)    \vns 
equivalent  to  about  a  quart  and  a  half  of  our  measure, 
t  The  Prophet's  uncle,  who  fell  at  the  Battle  of  Ohod. 



Tribes),  with  the  Cave  of  Abraham,  the  Mihrab  of  Jacob,  and 
Bab  Dar  Umm  Khalid  (the  Gate  of  the  House  of  Khalid's 
Mother).  Outside  the  Haram  Area  at  the  City  Gate  to  the  west 
is  the  Mihrab  Daud  (David's  Prayer-niche).  The  place  of  the 
tying-up  of  (the  steed)  Al  Burak  is  in  the  angle  of  the  southern 
minaret.  The  Spring  of  Siloam  ('A in  Sulwan)  lies  to  the  south 
of  the  Haram  Area.  The  Mount  of  Olives  overlooks  the  Haram 
Area,  being  separated  therefrom  by  the  Wadi  Jahannum.  From 
(the  Mount  of  Olives)  Jesus  was  taken  up ;  across  (the  Wadi)  will 
extend  the  bridge  As  Sirat ;  and  there,  too,  is  the  Place  of  Prayer 
of  the  Khalif  'Omar,  also  many  of  the  tombs  of  the  prophets." 
(I.  F.,  100,  101.) 

Ibn  'Abd  Rabbih's  notice,  written  some  ten  years  later  than  the 
above,  differs  in  some  of  the  details.  It  is  as  follows  : 

"  Description  of  the  Mosque  of  the  Holy  City,  and  what  therein  is 
of  Holy  Places  of  the  Prophets. — The  length  of  the  Haram  Area 
is  784  ells,  and  its  breadth  455  ells,  of  the  ells  of  the  Imam.* 
They  light  the  Noble  Sanctuary  with  1,500  lamps,  and  in  its 
structures  have  been  employed  6,900  beams  of  wood.  Its  gates 
are  50  in  number,  and  there  are  684  columns.  Within  the 
Sakhrah  (the  Dome  of  the  Rock)  are  30  columns,  and  the 
columns  which  are  outside  the  Sakhrah  are  18  in  number. t  The 
Dome  is  covered  by  means  of  3,392  sheets  of  lead,  over  which  are 
placed  plates  of  brass,  gilded,  which  number  10,210.  The  total 
number  of  the  lamps  that  light  the  Sakhrah  is  464,  which  hang  by 
hooks  and  chains  of  copper.  The  height  of  the  Sakhrah  of  the 
Holy  City  (in  ancient  days),  when  it  reached  heavenward,  was 
12  miles,  and  the  people  of  Jericho  (to  the  east)  profited  by  its 
shadow,  as  did  also  those  of 'Am  was  (Emmaus,  to  the  west);  and 
there  was  set  over  it  (in  the  early  times)  a  red  ruby,  which  shone, 
giving  light  even  to  the  people  of  the  Balka,  so  that  those  who 
lived  there  were  able  to  spin  by  the  light  thereof.  In  the  Masjid 

*  If  the  reading  Imam  be  correct,  the  Imam  in  question  is  doubtless  the 
Khalif  'Ali,  who  inaugurated  many  novelties  besides  the  standard  of  the  ell. 

t  See  p.  122.  It  will  be  observed  that  As  Sakhrah  (the  Rock)  is  used  to 
denote  both  the  Dome  and  the  Rock  itself ;  just  as  Al  Masjid  means  the  whole 
Haram  Area,  and  more  particularly  the  Mosque  (or  Masjid)  Al  Aksa  in  its 
southern  part. 


(al  Aksa  ?)  arc  three  Maksurahs  (enclosed  spaces)  for  the  women, 
the  length  of  each  Maksurah  being  80  ells,  and  its  breadth  50  ells.* 
In  the  Mosque  are  600  chains  for  the  suspending  of  the  lamps, 
each  chain  being  18  ells  in  length;  also  seventy  copper  sieves! 
(Ghirbal\  and  seven  cone-shaped  stands  (called  Sanaubar&f)  for 
the  lamps.  Further,  seventy  complete  copies  of  the  Kuran,  and 
six  copies  of  greater  size,  each  page  of  which  is  made  of  a  single 
skin  of  parchment ;  these  last  are  placed  on  desks.  The  Noble 
Sanctuary  contains  ten  Mihrabs,  fifteen  Domes,  twenty-four  cisterns 
for  water,  and  four  minarets,  from  whence  they  make  the  call  to 
prayer.  All  the  roofs,  that  is,  of  the  Mosque,  the  Domes,  and  the 
minarets,  are  covered  with  gilded  plates.  Of  servants  appointed 
to  its  service,  there  are,  together  with  their  families,  in  all  230 
persons,  called  Mamluks  (slaves),  all  of  whom  receive  their  rations 
from  the  Public  Treasury.  Monthly  there  is  allowed  (for  the 
Noble  Sanctuary)  700  Kists  Ibrahimi  of  olive-oil,  the  weight  of 
the  Kist  being  a  Ratl  and  a  half  of  the  larger  weight  {  The 
allowance  yearly  of  mats  is  8,000  of  the  same.  For  the  hanks  of 
cotton  for  the  wicks  of  the  lamps,  they  allow  yearly  12  Dinars 
(^6) ;  for  lamp-glasses,  33  Dinars ;  and  for  the  payment  of  the 
workmen,  who  repair  the  various  roofs  in  the  Noble  Sanctuary, 
there  is  15  Dinars  yearly. 

"  Of  Holy  Places  of  the  Prophets  in  Jerusalem  are  the  following  : 
Under  the  corner  of  the  (Aksa)  Mosque  is  the  spot  where  the 
Prophet  tied  up  his  steed,  Al  Burak.  Of  gate  leading  into  the 
Noble  Sanctuary  are  the  Bab  Daud,  the  Bab  Sulaiman,  and  the 
Bab  Hittah,  which  last  is  intended  by  Allah  when  he  saith  $  '  Say 
ye,  Hittah  (forgiveness),  and  there  is  no  God  but  Allah ;'  but 
some  men  say  Hintah  (wheat),  making  a  jest  thereof,  for  which 
may  Allah  curse  them  in  their  impiety  !  Also  there  are  the  Bab 
Muhammad,  and  the  Bab  at  Taubah  (the  Gate  of  Repentance), 
where  Allah  vouchsafed  repentance  to  David.  And  the  Bab  ar 
Rahmah  (the  Gate  of  Mercy),  of  which  Allah  has  made  mention  in 
His  Book,  saying  :  'A  gate,  within  which  is  Mercy ;  while  without 

*  See  p.  100.  t  What  purpose  these  served  is  unknown. 

%  That  is,  about  nine  pounds  to  the  Kist. 

§  Kuran,  ii    55.  II  Kuran,  Ivii.  13. 

II 2 


the  same  is  the  Torment,'  alluding  to  the  Wadi  Jahannum,  which 
lies  on  the  east  of  the  Holy  City.  And  the  Abwab  al  Asbat  (the 
Gates  of  the  Tribes),  the  tribes  being  the  Tribes  of  the  Children 
of  Israel ;  and  the  Gates  here  are  six  in  number.  Also  the  Bab 
al  Walid,  the  Bab  al  Hashimi,  the  Bab  al  Khidr  (the  Gate  of  Elias 
or  St.  George),  and  the  Bab  as  Sakinah  (the  Gate  of  the  Shechina, 
or  Divine  Presence). 

"In  the  Noble  Sanctuary  further  are  the  Mihrab  of  Mary 
(Mother  of  Jesus),  the  daughter  of  'Amran,  whither  the  Angels 
were  wont  to  bring  her  fruits  of  winter  during  the  summer-time, 
and  summer-fruits  in  the  winter -time.  Also  the  Mihrab  of 
Zakariyya  (father  of  John  the  Baptist),  where  the  Angels  gave 
him  the  good  news  (of  the  birth)  of  John,  at  a  time  when  he  was 
standing  praying  therein.  Also  the  Mihrab  Ya'kub  (Jacob),  and 
the  Kursi  Sulaiman  (the  Throne  of  Solomon),  where  he  used  to 
pray  to  Allah ;  and  the  Minaret  of  Abraham,  the  Friend  of  the 
Merciful,  whither  he  was  wont  to  retire  for  worship.  There  are 
likewise  here  the  Dome  whence  the  Prophet  (Muhammad)  made 
his  ascent  into  Heaven;  the  Dome  over  the  spot  where  the 
Prophet  prayed  with  the  Prophets  (of  old) ;  also  the  Dome  where, 
during  the  times  of  the  Children  of  Israel,  there  did  hang  down 
the  Chain  that  gave  judgment  (of  truth  or  lying)  between  them. 
Further,  the  Praying-place  of  Gabriel  (Musalla  Jibrail),  and  the 
Praying-place  of  Al  Khidr  (Elias). 

"  Now  when  thou  enterest  the  Sakhrah  (or  Dome  of  the  Rock), 
make  thy  prayer  in  the  three  corners  thereof;  and  also  pray  on 
the  slab  which  rivals  the  Rock  itself  in  glory,  for  it  lies  over  a  gate 
of  the  Gates  of  Paradise.  The  birthplace  of  Jesus,  the  son  of 
Mary,  is  (at  Bethlehem)  about  3  miles  distant  from  the  Noble 
Sanctuary ;  Abraham's  Mosque  (which  is  Hebron),  wherein  is  his 
tomb,  is  18  miles  from  the- Holy  City.  The  (Malikite)  Mihrab  of 
this  Mosque  lies  on  the  western  side.  And  among  the  excellent 
sights  of  the  Holy  City  are  these.  The  place  of  the  Bridge  As 
Sirat  is  in  the  Holy  City,  and  from  Jahannum  (Hell)— may  Allah 
keep  us  therefrom  ! — it  will  reach  even  unto  the  Holy  City.  On 
the  Day  of  Resurrection  Paradise  will  be  brought  as  a  bride  to  the 
Holy  City,  and  the  Ka'abah  also  shall  come  thither  with  her,  so 


that  men  will  exclaim,  '  All  hail  to  those  who  come  as  pilgrims ! 
and  all  hail  to  her  to  whom  pilgrimage  is  made  !'  And  the  Black 
Stone  shall  be  brought,  in  bridal  procession,  to  the  Holy  City; 
and  the  Black  Stone  on  that  day  shall  be  greater  in  size  than  the 
Hill  of  Abu  Kubais.*  Among  the  Excellencies  of  the  Holy  City 
are  these,  namely :  that  Allah  did  take  up  His  Prophet  into 
Heaven  from  the  Holy  City,  as  likewise  Jesus,  the  son  of  Mary. 
And  verily  in  the  last  days  the  Antichrist  shall  conquer  Christ  in 
all  and  every  part  of  the  earth,  excepting  only  in  the  Holy  City. 
And  Allah  hath  forbidden  Gog  and  Magog  to  set  foot  in  the  Holy 
City.  Lastly,  all  the  Saints  and  Holy  Men  of  God  are  from  the 
Holy  City,  and  Adam  and  Moses  and  Joseph,  and  the  great 
company  of  the  Prophets  of  the  Children  of  Israel  all  left  by  testa- 
ment the  command  that  they  should  be  buried  in  the  Holy  City." 
(I.  R.,  iii.  366-368.) 

Mukaddasi,  writing  in  985,  corroborates  some  of  the  details 
mentioned  by  the  two  foregoing  authorities.  He  notes  : 

"  Of  the  holy  places  within  (the  Haram  Area)  are  the  Mihrab 
Maryam  (the  Oratory  of  Mary),  Zakariyyah  (of  Zachariah),  Ya'kub 
(of  Jacob),  and  Al  Khidr  (of  Elias,  or  St.  George),  the  Station  of 
the  Prophet  (Afakdm  an  Nabi),  and  of  Jibrail  (Gabriel),  the  Place 
of  the  Ant,  and  of  the  Fire,  and  of  the  Ka'abah,  and  also  of  the 
Bridge  As  Sirat,  which  shall  divide  Heaven  and  Hell.  Now,  the 
dimensions  of  the  Haram  Area  are  :  length,  1,000  ells — of  the 
royal  Hashimite  ell — and  width,  700.  In  the  ceiling  of  its  various 
edifices  there  are  four  thousand  wooden  beams,  supported  on  seven 
hundred  marble  columns,  and  the  roofs  are  overlaid  with  forty- 
five  thousand  sheets  of  lead.  The  measurement  of  the  Rock 
itself  is  33  ells  by  27,  and  the  cavern  which  lies  beneath  will 
hold  sixty-nine  persons.  The  endowment  provides  monthly  for 
100  Kists  of  olive-oil,  and  in  each  year  they  use  800,000  ells 
of  matting.  The  Mosque  is  served  by  special  attendants  ;  their 
service  was  instituted  by  the  Khalif  'Abd  al  Malik,  the  men 
being  chosen  from  among  the  Royal  Fifth  of  the  captives 
taken  in  war,  and  hence  they  are  called  Al  Akhmas  (the! 
Quintans).  None  besides  these  are  employed  in  the  service, 
*  The  hill  overhanging  the  city  of  Makkah  on  the  west. 


and    they  take    their  watch  in   turn   beside  the   Rock."     (Muk.y 
170,  171.) 

The  various  points  of  interest  in  the  preceding  descriptions 
must  now  be  noticed  in  detail,  and  compared  with  the  descriptions 
derived  from  other  authorities. 

The  Cradle  of  Jesus. — The  small  Mosque  in  the  substructures  of 
the  ancient  tower  at  the  south-eastern  angle  of  the  Haram  Area, 
known  at  the  present  day  as  the  Cradle  of  Jesus,  is  spoken  of  by 
Ibn  'Abd  Rabbih  (see  above,  p.  164)  under  the  name  of  "The 
Mihrab  of  Mary,  the  daughter  of  'Amran  (and  Mother  of  Jesus)." 
Mukaddasi,  too,  mentions  among  the  Holy  places  in  the  Haram 
Area  "  The  Mihrab  Maryam  and  Zakariyyah." 

The  earliest  detailed  description  of  this  spot  is  to  be  found  in 
Nasir's  diary.  He  writes  :  "Adjacent  to  the  East  Wall,  and  when 
you  have  reached  the  south  (eastern)  angle  (of  the  Haram  Area)— 
the  Kiblah-point  lying  before  you,  south,  but  somewhat  aside — 
there  is  an  underground  Mosque,  to  which  you  descend  by  many 
steps.  It  is  situated  immediately  to  the  north  of  the  (South)  Wall 
of  the  Haram  Area,  covering  a  space  measuring  20  ells  by  15,  and 
the  chamber  has  a  roof  of  stone,  supported  on  marble  columns. 
Here  was  of  old  the  Cradle  of  Jesus.  The  Cradle  is  of  stone,  and 
large  enough  for  a  man  to  make  therein  his  prayer  prostrations, 
and  I  myself  said  my  prayers  there.  The  Cradle  is  fixed 
into  the  ground,  so  that  it  cannot  be  moved.  This  Cradle  is 
where  Jesus  was  laid  during  His  childhood,  and  where  He  held 
converse  with  the  people.  The  Cradle  itself,  in  this  Mosque,  has 
been  made  the  Mihrab  (or  oratory)  ;  and  there  is,  likewise,  on  the 
east  side  of  this  Mosque  the  Mihrab  Maryam  (or  Oratory  of  Mary), 
and  another  Mihrab,  which  is  that  of  Zakariyya  (Zachariah) — 
peace  be  upon  him  !  Above  these  Mihrabs  are  written  the  verses 
revealed  in  the  Kuran  that  relate  respectively  to  Zachariah  and  to 
Mary.  They  say  that  Jesus— peace  be  upon  Him  ! — was  born  in 
the  place  where  this  Mosque  now  stands.  On  the  shaft  of  one  of 
the  columns  there  is  impressed  a  mark  as  though  a  person  had 
gripped  the  stone  with  two  fingers ;  and  they  say  that  Mary,  when 
taken  in  the  pangs  of  labour,  did  thus  with  one  hand  seize  upon 
the  stone,  leaving  this  mark  thereon.  This  Mosque  is  known  by 


the  title  of  Mahd  'Isa  (the  Cradle  of  Jesus) — peace  be  upon  Him  ! 
— and  they  have  suspended  a  great  number  of  lamps  there  of 
silver  and  of  brass,  that  are  lighted  every  night."  (N.  K.h.,  33.) 

I  hiring  the  occupation  of  the  Crusaders,  the  Templars  used  these 
substructures  under  the  south-east  angle  of  the  Haram  Area  for  the 
stabling  of  their  horses,  and  by  the  Latin  chroniclers  the  place  is 
mentioned  under  the  name  of  the  Stables  of  Solomon.  'AH  of 
Herat,  who  wrote  in  1173,  during  the  Latin  occupation,  speaks  of 
these  substructures  under  this  name.  He  writes  : 

"  Below  the  Haram  Area  are  the  Stables  of  Solomon,  where  he 
kept  his  beasts  ;  and  they  say  there  are  here  in  the  walls  stones  of 
enormous  size,  and  the  mangers  for  the  beasts  are  to  be  seen  even 
to  this  day.  There  are  also  here  the  Caverns  known  as  the  Cradle 
of  Jesus,  the  son  of  Mary — peace  be  upon  Him  !"  (A.  H.,  Oxf. 
MS.,  f.  39.) 

Previous  to  the  advent  of  the  Crusaders,  many  buildings  stood 
in  the  great  Court  of  the  Noble  Sanctuary,  no  traces  of  which 
remain  at  present ;  and,  from  the  descriptions  of  Mujir  ad  Din 
and  Suyuti,  many  would  seem  to  have  already  disappeared  at  the 
date  of  Saladin's  re-occupation  of  the  Holy  City.  Thus  Nasir-i- 
Khusrau,  in  1047,  writes  : 

"  In  the  Court  of  the  Haram  Area,  but  not  upon  the  Platform, 
is  a  building  resembling  a  small  Mosque.  It  lies  towards  the 
north  side,  and  is  a  walled  enclosure  (hadhirah\  built  of  squared 
stones,  with  walls  of  over  a  man's  height.  It  is  called  the  Mihrab 
Daud  (or  the  Oratory  of  David).  Near  this  enclosure  is  a  rock, 
standing  up  about  as  high  as  a  man,  and  the  summit  of  it,  which 
is  uneven,  is  rather  smaller  than  would  suffice  for  spreading 
thereon  a  (prayer)  rug.  This  place  they  say  was  the  Throne 
of  Solomon  (Kursi  Sulaiman),  and  they  relate  that  Solomon — 
peace  be  upon  him  !  —sat  thereon  while  occupied  with  building  the 
Noble  Sanctuary." 

This  Mihrab  Daud,  which  is  said  to  be  in  the  northern  portion 
of  the  Haram  Area,  and  near  the  Kursi  Sulaiman,  can  hardly  be 
the  place  named  at  present  the  "  Oratory  of  David,"  which  is  a 
niche  in  the  great  south  wall  of  the  Haram  Area.  It  is  probably 
the  same  building  as  the  Kubbat  Sulainmn  of  Mujir  ad  Din, 


before  the  Bab  al  'Atm,  and  immediately  to  the  south-west  of  that 
gate.  (Plan  facing  p.  172,  at  V.) 

As  regards  the  identification  of  the  Mihrab  of  David,  Suyuti, 
writing  in  1470,  discusses  the  subject  in  the  following  terms  : 

"  Now,  as  to  the  Mihrab  Daud,  there  is  diversity  of  opinion  as 
to  its  identification.  Some  say  it  is  the  great  Mihrab,  which  is  in 
the  south  wall  of  the  Haram  Area ;  others,  that  it  is  the  great 
Mihrab  in  the  neighbourhood  of  the  Mimbar  (or  pulpit  of  the 
Aksa  Mosque).  The  author  of  the  work  called  Al  Path  al  Kiidsi 
asserts  that  the  Mihrab  of  David  is  in  the  Castle  of  the  Holy 
City,  in  the  place  where  David  was  wont  to  pray.  For  his  dwelling 
being  in  the  Castle,  here,  also,  was  his  place  of  worship.  Now, 
the  Mihrab,  whereof  mention,  by  Allah,  is  made  in  the  Kuran  in 
the  words  (chapter  xxxviii.  20),  '  When  they  mounted  the  wall  of  the 
Mihrab,'  is  generally  admitted  to  be  the  Mihrab  of  David,  where 
he  prayed,  and  this  was  situated  in  the  Castle,  that  being  his  place 
of  worship ;  while  the  spot  now  known  as  the  great  Mihrab,  which 
is  inside  the  Haram  Area,  is  looked  upon  as  the  place  where 
David  was  wont  to  pray  when  he  came  into  the  Haram  Area. 
When  'Omar  came  hither,  he  sought  to  follow  in  David's  steps, 
and  made  his  prayer  in  the  place  where  David  had  prayed. 
Hence  the  place  came  to  be  called  the  Mihrab  of  'Omar,  from  the 
fact  of  his  having  prayed  there  for  the  first  time  on  the  day  of  the 
capitulation  of  Jerusalem  ;  but  originally  this  had  been  named  the 
Mihrab  of  David.  In  confirmation  of  this  is  the  fact  of  'Omar's 
known  veneration  of  this  spot.  For  when  he  asked  of  Ka'ab, 
'  Which  place  wishest  thou  that  we  should  institute  as  the  place  of 
our  prayer  in  this  Sacred  Area  ?'  and  Ka'ab  had  answered,  '  In 
the  hinder  part  thereof,  where  it  may  be  near  the  Sakhrah,  so  that 
the  two  Kiblahs  (namely,  of  Moses  and  of  Muhammad)  may  be 
united,'  'Omar  had  said,  '  O  Abu  Ishak,  so  thou  wouldst  act  still 
in  Jew  fashion?  Are  we  not  a  people  to  whom  the  forepart  of 
the  Holy  Area  belongs  as  of  right  ?'*  Then  'Omar  marked  out  the 
Mihrab,  which  had  been  that  of  David,  and  where  he  had  been 
wont  to  worship  in  the  Haram  Area.  Thus  'Omar's  opinion,  and 
his  veneration  for  this  spot,  both  confirm  the  view  that  David,  in 

*  See  p.  142. 


ancient  times,  had  fixed  on  this  place,  and  had  chosen  the  same 
as  his  place  of  prayer."  (S.,  262  264.) 

Besides  the  building  called  the  Oratory  of  David,  Nasir 
mentions  two  other  Domes  as  standing  in  the  northern  part  of  the 
Haram  Area.  The  first  of  these— the  Dome  of  Jacob  (Kubbat 
Ya'kub) — he  says,  stood  near  the  colonnade,  running  along  the 
wall  from  the  present  Bab  Hittah — then  called  the  Gate  to  the 
Cloisters  of  the  Sufis — to  the  north-west  angle  of  the  Haram  Area. 
(See  below,  p.  176 ;  also  on  Plan  facing  p.  150,  at  X.) 

The  other  dome  stood  apparently  in  the  north-east  angle  of  the 
Haram  Area  (Plan  facing  p.  150,  W).  It  was  called  the  Oratory 
of  Zachariah  (Mihrab  Zakariyya).  Of  this  no  trace  remains  at  the 
present  day.  The  Dome  of  Jacob  is  probably  that  now  known 
under  the  name  of  the  Kubbat  Sulaiman,  the  Dome  of  Solomon. 
(Plan  facing  p.  172,  U.) 

Concerning  the  Throne  of  Solomon,  which  Mukaddasi  and 
Nasir  both  mention,  the  following  traditional  account  is  given  by 
Suyuti  : 

"It  is  also  related  that  Solomon— God's  prophet— when  he  had 
finished  the  building  (of  the  Temple),  sacrificed  three  thousand 
heifers  and  seven  thousand  ewes  at  the  place  which  is  in  the  after 
(or  northern)  part  of  the  Haram  Area,  in  the  vicinity  of  the  Bab 
al  Asbat  (the  Gate  of  the  Tribes).  This  is  the  spot  which  is  now 
occupied  by  the  building  called  the  Throne  of  Solomon."  (S., 
258  ;  see  Plan  facing  p.  172,  V.) 

This  passage  is  copied  by  Mujir  ad  Din,  who,  however,  adds 
that,  according  to  the  received  tradition  of  his  day,  the  place 
which  is  known  as  the  Kursi  Sulaiman  is  within  the  dome  known 
as  the  Dome  of  Sulaiman,  near  the  Bab  ad  Duwaidariyyah. 
(M.  a.  D.,  in  ;  Plan  facing  p.  172,  U.) 

Of  other  Domes,  Mujir  ad  Din  (in  1496)  mentions  the  follow- 
ing : 

"  Kubbat  Musa  (the  Dome  of  Moses)  stands  opposite  the  Bab 
as  Silsilah  (the  Gate  of  the  Chain).  It  is  not  called  after  Moses, 
and  has  no  traditional  connection  with  him.  It  was  rebuilt  in  649 
(1251),  and  was  anciently  called  Kubbat  ash  Shajarah,  the  Dome 
of  the  Tree."  (M.  a.  D.,  375.) 


"  Kubbat  at  Tumar,  the  Dome  of  the  Roll,  stands  on  the  edge 
of  the  platform  at  the  south-east  corner."  (M.  a.  D.,  376.) 

Speaking  of  the  minarets  of  the  Haram  Area,  Mujir  ad  Din 
writes  :  "  The  four  minarets  occupy  the  same  position  as  did  those 
of  the  days  of  'Abd  al  Malik.  The  first  of  them  is  at  the  south- 
west angle  of  the  Haram  Area,  above  the  Madrasah  of  Fakhr  ad 
Din.  The  second  is  above  the  Gate  of  the  Chain.  The  third  is 
at  the  north-west  angle,  and  is  called  Madhanat  al  Ghawanimah. 
It  is  near  the  gate  of  that  name  (Plan  facing  p.  172,  at  F),  and 
was  rebuilt  about  the  year  697  (1298).  The  fourth  is  the  minaret 
between  the  Gate  of  the  Tribes  and  the  Gate  Hittah.  It  was 
rebuilt  in  769  (1367)."  (M.  a.  D.,  379,  380.) 

In  conclusion  it  may  be  useful  briefly  to  recapitulate  the  various 
minor  Domes  and  Shrines  of  the  Haram  Area,  mentioned  by  the 
authorities  prior  to  the  first  Crusade,  after  which  date  so  many 
alterations  were  effected  among  the  edifices  of  the  Noble  Sanctuary. 
The  present  Dome  of  the  Ascension  is  that  called  the  Dome  of 
the  Prophet,  by  Ibn  al  Fakih ;  the  Dome  of  the  Ascension,  by 
both  Ibn  'Abd  Rabbih  and  Mukaddasi ;  and  the  Dome  of  the 
Prophet,  by  Nasir-i-Khusrau. 

The  present  Dome  of  Gabriel  (close  to  the  Dome  of  the  Rock) 
is  that  called  the  Station  of  Jibrail,  by  Ibn  al  Fakih ;  the  Prayer- 
station  of  Jibrail,  by  Ibn  'Abd  Rabbih  ;  the  Dome,  of  the  Prophet, 
by  Mukaddasi;  and  the  Dome  of  Jibrail,  by  Nasir-i-Khusrau. 

The  Dome  where  the  Prophet  prayed  with  the  Former  Prophets 
is  mentioned  by  Ibn  'Abd  Rabbih.  Mukaddasi  also  speaks  of  the 
Station  of  the  Prophet,  and  the  Station  of  Gabriel,  as  among  the 
Shrines  in  the  Haram  Area. 

The  Station  of  Al  Khidr  (St.  George  or  Elias)  is  mentioned  by 
Ibn  al  Fakih,  Ibn  'Abd  Rabbih  and  Mukaddasi,  the  last  naming 
it  a  Mihrab. 

The  present  Cradle  of  Jesus  is  mentioned  by  Ibn  al  Fakih,  Ibn 
'Abd  Rabbih,  Mukaddasi,  and  Nasir-i-Khusrau,  who  also  speak  of 
the  Mihrab  Maryam,  and  the  Mihrab  Zakariyyah. 

Another  Mihrab  Zakariyyah,  or  Dome,  near  the  north-west 
angle  of  the  Haram  Area,  is  also  mentioned  by  Nasir-i-Khusrau 
(unknown  at  the  present  day). 


The  Cave  of  Abraham  is  mentioned  by  Ibn  al  Fakih,  and  the 
Minaret  of  Abraham  by  Ibn  'Abd  Rabbih  (both  unknown  at  the 
present  day). 

The  Place  of  the  Ant,  the  Place  of  the  Fire,  and  the  Place  of 
the  Ka'abah,  are  all  mentioned  by  Mukaddasi. 

The  Mihrab  of  Jacob  is  mentioned  by  Ibn  al  Fakih,  Ibn  'Abd 
Rabbih,  and  Mukaddasi ;  the  Dome  of  Jacob,  in  the  north  part  of 
the  Noble  Sanctuary,  is  described  by  Nasir-i-Khusrau. 

The  Mihrab  of  David,  in  the  north  part  of  the  Haram  Area,  is 
mentioned  by  Nasir-i-Khusrau. 

The  Throne  of  Solomon  is  mentioned  by  Ibn  'Abd  Rabbih 
and  Nasir-i-Khusrau. 

The  place  of  the  Bridge  between  Heaven  and  Hell,  called  As 
Sirat,  is  mentioned  by  Ibn  al  Fakih,  Ibn  'Abd  Rabbih,  and 

The  tying-up  place  of  the  steed  Burak  is  mentioned  by  Ibn  al 
Fakih  and  Ibn  'Abd  Rabbih. 



A.  Bab  as  Silsilah,  Gate  of  the  Chain. 

B.  Bab  al  Mutawadda,  Gate  of  the  Place  of  the  Ablution  ;  or  Bab  al 

Matarah,  Gate  of  Rain. 

C.  Bab  al  Kattanin,  Gate  of  the  Cotton  Merchants. 

D.  Bab  al  Hadid,  Gate  of  Iron. 

E.  Bab  an  Nadhir,  Gate  of  the  Inspector. 

F.  Bab  al  Ghawanimah,  Gate  of  the  Ghanim  Family. 

G.  Babal  'Atm,  Gate  of  the  Darkness  ;  also  called  Bab  Sharaf  al  Anbiya, 

Gate  of  the    Glory    of   the  Prophets,  or   Bab  ad  Dawtklariyyah, 

Gate  of  the  Secretariat. 
H.  Bab  Hittah,  Gate  of  Remission. 
I.  Bab  al  Asbat,  Gate  of  the  Tribes. 
J.  Bab  at  Taubah,  Gate  of  Repentance.  ) 
K.  B^b  ar  Rahmah,  Gate  of  Mercy.          |  The  Golden  Gate" 
L.  Walled-up  Gate,  anciently  called  Bab  al  Janaiz,  Gate  of  the  Funerals, 

or  Bab  al  Buralc. 

M.  Ancient  "  Single  Gate,"  walled  up. 
N.  Ancient  "  Triple  Gate,"  walled  up. 
O.  Ancient  "  Double  Gate,"  leading  to  the  underground  Passage-way, 

under  the  Aksa  Mosque. 
P.  Bab  al  Magh^ribah,  Gate  of  the  Western  Africans  ;  below  it  is  the 

now  walled-up  B&b  an  Nabi,  Gate  of  the  Prophet. 
Q.  Kubbat  as  Silsilah,  Dome  of  the  Chain. 
R.  Kubbat  al  Mi'raj,  Dome  of  the  Ascension. 
S.  Kubbat  Jibrall,  Dome  of  Gabriel. 
T.  Kursi  'Isa,  Throne  of  Jesus. 
U.  Kubbat  Sulaiman,  Dome  of  Solomon. 
V.  Kursl  Sulaiman,  Throne  of  Solomon. 

W,  W.   Mahd  'Isa,  Cradle  of  Jesus,  and  the  Stables  of  Solomon. 
X.  Madrasah,  or  College,  called  Al  Farisiyyah. 
Y.  Jami'  al  Magharibah,  or  Mosque  of  the  Moghrebins. 
Z.  Baka'at  al  Baida,  called  incorrectly  the  Old  AksS,  in  Crusading  times 

the  Armoury  of  the  Templars. 




JERUSALEM  (continued). 

The  Gates  of  the  Haram  Area— The  Colonnades— Size  of  the  Haram  Area — 
The  Tanks  and  Pools. 

The  CJnirch  of  the  Resurrection  :  The  Miracle  of  the  Holy  Fite — The 
Garden  of  Gethsemane — The  Tomb  of  the  Virgin — Pater  Noster  Church 
and  Bethany — The  Church  of  the  Ascension  and  of  the  Jacobites — The 
Church  of  Sion  and  Gallicantus. 

City  Gates:  The  Castle — Wadi  Jahannum  and  the  Tomb  of  Absalom. 

The  Plain,  As  Sahirah :  The  Pool  of  Siloam— The  Well  of  Job- 
Cavern  of  Korah. 


IN  the  identification  of  the  Gates  leading  into  the  Haram  Area, 
named  in  the  various  authorities,  I  cannot  do  better  than  quote 
verbatim  from  a  paper  contributed  by  Colonel  Sir  C.  Wilson  to  the 
Palestine  Exploration  Fund  "Quarterly  Statement"  for  July,  1888 
(p.  141),  which  is  also  inserted  as  Appendix  C  to  my  translation 
of  Nasir-i-Khusrau's  Diary,  published  in  the  Palestine  Pilgrim 
Texts.  In  these  proposed  identifications  I  thoroughly  concur,  and 
take  this  opportunity  of  expressing  how  much  I  feel  indebted  to 
Sir  C.  Wilson  for  the  aid  he  has  afforded  me  in  clearing  up  this 
somewhat  knotty  point. 

Before,  however,  entering  on  the  subject  of  the  identification  of 
the  Gates,  it  will  be  convenient  to  recapitulate  the  lists  given  by 
Ibn  al  Fakih,  and  Ibn  'Abd  Rabbih,  our  two  earliest  authorities. 
Following  this  will  come  Mukaddasi's  list,  then  Nasir-i-Khusrau's 
detailed  notice  of  the  Gates  in  1047,  after  which  we  shall  be  in  a 
position  to  discuss  the  identification  of  the  various  names  recorded 
of  the  ancient  Gates  with  those  that  at  present  exist. 

Ibn  al  Fakih,  903,  and  Ibn  'Abd  Rabbih,  913,  the  two  earliest 
authorities,  do  not  apparently  attempt  to  name  the  Gates  in  order, 


but  only  at  haphazard  and  incidentally  to  the  general  account  of 
the  Domes  and  Mihrabs  of  the  Haram  Area.  These  Gates  they 
mentioned  are  the  following  (see  above,  pp.  161-164)  : 


Bab  Baud.  Bab  Baud. 

Bab  Sulaiman. 

Bab  Hittah.  Bab  Hittah. 

Bab  an  Nabi.  Bab  Muhammad. 

Bab  at  Taubah.  Bab  at  Taubah. 

Bab  al  Wad!. 

Bab  ar  Rahmah.  Bab  ar  Rahmah. 

Abwab  al  Asbat.  Abwab  al  Asbat 

(six  in  number). 
Bab  Dar  Umm  Khalid. 

Bab  al  Walid. 

Bab  al  Hashimi. 

Bab  al  Khidr. 

Bab  as  Sakinah. 

The  next  list  is  that  given  by  Mukaddasi  in  985.     He  writes  : 
"  The  Haram  Area  is  entered  through  thirteen  openings,  closed 
by  a  score  of  Gates.     These  are  : 

(1)  The  Bab  Hittah  (the  Gate  of  Remission). 

(2)  The  two  Gates  of  the  Prophet. 

(3)  The  Gates  of  the  Mihrab  Maryam 

(the  Gates  of  Mary's  Oratory). 

(4)  The  two  Gates  Ar  Rahmah  (of  Mercy). 

(5)  The  Gate  of  the  Birkat  (Pool  of)  Bani  Israil. 

(6)  The  Gates  Al  Asbat  (of  the  Tribes). 

(7)  The  Hashimite  Gates. 

(8)  The  Gate  of  Al  Walid. 

(9)  The  Gate  of  Ibrahim  (Abraham). 

(10)  The  Gate  of  Umm  Khalid  (the  Mother  of  Khalid). 
(IT)  The  Gate  Baud  (David)."     (Muk.,  170.) 

.     In  his  eulogy  on  the  beauties  of  Jerusalem,  Mukaddasi  further 
mentions  "  the  Bab  as    Sakinah  (The  Gate  of   the   Shechinah) 


and  the  Kubbat  as  Silsilah  (the  Dome  of  the  Chain)." 
(Muk.,  151.) 

Between  Mukaddasi's  descriptions  in  985,  and  Nasir's  visit  in 
1047,  the  earthquakes  occurred  which  so  seriously  damaged  the 
Aksa  Mosque  and  the  Dome  of  the  Rock.  (See  p.  101.)  The 
Gates  doubtless  also  suffered  damage ;  the  walls  of  the  Haram 
Area,  as  we  know  from  the  inscriptions  (see  p.  101),  were  cer- 
tainly in  part  overthrown ;  and  when  the  Gateways  were  rebuilt 
after  the  earthquakes,  they  presumably  were  given  in  some  cases 
new  names. 

Nasir-i-Khusrau  writes  of  the  Gates  in  the  following  terms  : 

"  The  Area  of  the  Noble  Sanctuary  is  paved  with  stone,  the 
joints  being  set  in  lead. 

(i.*)  "As  we  have  said  before,  the  Haram  Area  lies  in  the  eastern 
part  of  the  city  ;  and  through  the  bazaar  of  this  (quarter)  you 
enter  the  Area  by  a  great  and  beautiful  gateway,  that  measures 
30  ells  (60  feet)  in  height,  by  20  across.  The  gateway  has 
two  wings,  in  which  open  halls,  and  the  walls  of  both  gateway 
and  halls  are  adorned  with  coloured  enamels,  set  in  plaster,  cut 
into  patterns  so  beautiful  that  the  eye  becomes  dazzled  in  contem- 
plating them.  Over  the  gateway  is  an  inscription,  which  is  set 
in  the  enamels,  giving  the  titles  of  the  Sultan  (who  is  the  Fatimite 
Khalif)  of  Egypt;  and  when  the  sun's  rays  fall  on  this  it  shines  so 
that  the  sight  is  bewildered  at  the  splendour  thereof.  There 
is  also  a  great  Dome  that  crowns  this  gateway,  which  is  built 
of  squared  stones.  Closing  the  gateway  are  two  carefully-con- 
structed doors.  These  are  faced  with  Damascene  brass-work, 
which  you  would  take  to  be  gold,  for  they  are  gilt,  and  orna- 
mented with  figured  designs.  Each  of  these  doors  is  15  ells 
(30  feet)  in  height,  by  8  ells  across.  The  gateway  we  have  just 
described  is  called  the  Bab  Daud  (the  Gate  of  David) — peace 
be  upon  him ! 

"After  passing  this  Gateway  of  David  (and  entering  the 
Haram  Area),  you  have,  on  the  right,  two  great  colonnades,!  each 

*  The  roman  numerals  show  the  order  of  the  gates  as  they  occur  in  the 
walls,  and  are  here  added  for  purposes  of  reference.  (See  Plan  facing  p.  150  ) 

t  These  colonnades  go  along  the  western  wall  of  the  Haram  Area  (see 
p.  190). 


of  which  has  nine-and-twenty  marble  pillars,  whose  capitals  and 
bases  are  of  coloured  marbles,  and  the  joints  are  set  in  lead. 
Above  the  pillars  rise  arches  that  are  constructed  of  masonry 
without  mortar  or  cement,  and  each  arch  is  constructed  of  no 
more  than  five  or  six  blocks  of  stone.  These  colonnades  lead 
down  to  near  the  Maksurah  (or  Main-building  of  the  Aksa 
Mosque).*  On  your  left  hand  (as  you  enter  the  Gate  of  David), 
and  towards  the  north,  there  is  likewise  a  long  colonnade  with 
sixty-four  arches,  supported  by  marble  pillars. 

(ii.)  "  In  this  part  of  the  wall  (that  is,  in  the  colonnade  between 
the  Gate  of  David  and  the  north-west  angle  of  the  Haram  Area) 
is  the  Gate  called  Bab  as  Sakar  (Gate  of  Hell). 

(iv.)  "  In  the  north  part  (of  the  Haram  Area)  is  a  double  gate- 
way, the  Gates  of  which  are  placed  side  by  side,  each  being  7  ells 
across,  by  12  high.  This  gateway  is  called  the  Bab  al  Asbat  (the 
Gate  of  the  Tribes). 

(v.)  "  When  you  have  passed  this  Gate  of  the  Tribes,  there  is 
still  another  great  gateway  in  the  breadth  of  the  Haram  Area 
(or  the  North  Wall)  in  the  portion  running  eastward.  There 
are  here  three  Gates  side  by  side,  of  a  like  size  to  the  Bab  al 
Asbat,  and  they  are  each  fashioned  in  iron,  and  adorned  with 
brass,  than  which  nothing  can  be  finer.  These  (three)  gates  they 
call  the  Bab  al  Abwab  (the  Gate  of  Gates),  for  the  reason  that, 
whereas  elsewhere  the  gateways  are  only  double,  there  is  here 
a  triple  gateway. 

"Running  along  the  north  part  of  the  Haram  Area,  and 
between  the  two  gateways  just  mentioned,  is  a  colonnade,  with 
arches  that  rest  on  solid  pillars  ;  and  adjacent  thereto,  a  Dome  that 
is  supported  by  tall  columns,  and  adorned  with  lamps  and 
lanterns.  This  is  called  Kubbat  Ya'kub  (the  Dome  of  Jacob) — 
peace  be  upon  him  ! — for  at  this  spot  was  his  place  of  prayer. 

(iii.)  "And  further  along  the  breadth  (or  Northern  Wall) 
of  the  Haram  Area  is  a  colonnade,  in  the  wall  of  which  is  a  Gate 
that  leads  to  two  Cloisters  belonging  to  the  Sufis,  who  have  their 

*  The  Main-building  of  the  Aksa  Mosque  is  often  referred  to  by  Nasir  under 
the  denomination  of  the  "  Maksurah,"  which  more  properly  is  the  name  given 
to  the  railed  oratory  for  the  Sultan  which  the  Mosque  contains. 


place  of  prayer  here,  and  have  built  a  fine  Mihrab  (or  oratory). 
There  are  always  in  residence  a  number  of  Sufis,  who  make  this 
(oratory)  the  place  of  their  daily  devotions  ;  except  on  Friday, 
when  they  go  into  the  Noble  Sanctuary,  in  order  to  attend  the 
service  of  prayer  therein.  At  the  north  (west?)  angle  of  the 
Haram  Area  is  a  fine  colonnade,  with  a  large  and  beautiful  Dome. 
On  this  Dome*  there  is  an  inscription,  stating  that  this  was 
the  Oratory  (Mihrab)  of  Zakariyya  the  Prophet — peace  be  upon 
him  ! — for  they  say  that  he  was  wont  to  continue  ceaselessly  in 
prayer  at  this  spot. 

(vi.)  "  In  the  Eastern  Wall  of  the  Haram  Area  there  is  a  great 
gateway  skilfully  built  of  squared  stones,  so  that  one  might  almost 
say  that  the  whole  was  carved  out  of  a  single  block.  Its  height  is 
50  ells  (100  feet),  and  its  width  30,  and  it  is  sculptured  and  orna- 
mented throughout.  There  are  ten  beautiful  doors  in  this  gateway 
(set  so  close)  that  between  any  two  of  them  there  is  not  the  space 
of  a  foot  These  doors  are  all  most  skilfully  wrought  in  iron  and 
Damascene  brass-work,  set  in  with  bolts  and  rings.  They  say  this 
gateway  was  constructed  by  Solomon,  son  of  David— peace  be 
upon  him  ! — to  please  his  father.  When  you  enter  this  gateway, 
facing  east,  there  are  two  great  doors.  The  one  on  your  right 
hand  is  called  Bab  ar  Rahman  (the  Gate  of  Mercy),  and  the  other 
Bab  at  Taubah  (the  Gate  of  Repentance) ;  and  they  say  of  this 
last  that  it  is  the  Gate  where  God — be  He  exalted  and  glorified  ! 
— accepted  the  repentance  of  David—  upon  whom  be  peace  ! 

"Near  this  gateway  is  a  beautiful  Mosque. f  In  former  times  it 
was  only  a  hall,  but  they  turned  the  hall  into  a  Mosque.  It 
is  spread  with  all  manner  of  beautiful  carpets,  and  there  are 
servants  especially  appointed  thereto.  This  spot  is  greatly 
frequented  of  the  people,  who  go  to  pray  therein,  and  seek  com- 
munion with  God — be  He  exalted  and  glorified  !— for  this  being 
the  place  where  David — peace  be  upon  him ! — was  vouchsafed 
repentance,  other  men  may  hope  to  be  turned  likewise  from  their 

*  Of  this  building  no  trace  now  exists.     See  p.  169. 

t"  This  I  understand  to  refer  to  a  building  occupying  the  position  of  what  is 
now  known  as  Kursi  Sulaiman,  the  Throne  of  Solomon  (Plan  facing  p.  172,  at  V). 



After  describing  the  Mosque  of  the  Cradle  of  Jesus  and  the 
Great  Aksa  Mosque  (see  pp.  105,  166),  Nasir  continues  : 

"  Beyond  the  Main-building  (of  the  Aksa),  along  the  great 
(south)  wall  (of  the  Haram  Area)  afore-mentioned,  rises  a  colon- 
nade of  two-and-forty  arches,*  the  columns  being  all  of  coloured 
marble.  This  colonnade  joins  the  one  that  is  along  the  west  (wall 
of  the  Area).  Inside  the  Main-building  (of  the  Aksa)  there  is  a 
tank  in  the  ground,  which,  when  the  cover  is  set  on,  lies  level 
with  the  floor,  and  its  use  is  for  the  rain-water,  which,  as  it  comes 
down,  drains  therein. 

(  "  In  the  south  wall  (of  the  Haram  Area)  is  a  gate 
leading  to  the  places  for  the  ablution,  where  there  is  running 
water.  When  a  person  has  need  to  make  the  ablution  (before 
prayer),  he  goes  down  to  this  place,  and  accomplishes  what  is 
prescribed ;  for  had  the  place  (of  ablution)  been  set  without  the 
walls,  by  reason  of  the  great  size  of  the  Haram  Area,  no  one 
could  have  returned  in  time,  and  before  the  appointed  hour  for 
prayer  had  gone  by. 

"As  I  have  written  above,  the  Holy  City  stands  on  the  summit 
of  a  hill,  and  its  site  is  not  on  level  ground.  The  place,  however, 
where  the  Noble  Sanctuary  stands  is  flat  and  on  the  level ;  but 
without  the  Area  the  enclosing  wall  varies  in  height  in  different 
places,  seeing  that  where  the  fall  is  abrupt,  the  Haram  wall  is 
the  highest,  for  the  foundation  of  the  wall  lies  at  the  bottom  of 
the  declivity ;  and  where  the  ground  mounts,  the  wall,  on  the 
other  hand,  has,  of  need,  been  built  less  high.  Wherever,  in  the 
city  itself  and  in  the  suburbs,  the  level  is  below  that  in  the  Haram 
Area,  they  have  made  gateways,  like  tunnels  cut  through  the 
ground,  that  lead  up  into  the  Court  (of  the  Noble  Sanctuary). 

(viii.)  "One  such  as  these  is  called  Bab  an  Nabi  (or  the  Gate 
of  the  Prophet) — peace  and  blessing  be  upon  him  ! — which  opens 
towards  the  Kiblah  point — that  is,  towards  the  south.  (The 
passage-way  of  this  gate)  is  10  ells  broad,  and  the  height  varies 
by  reason  of  the  steps.  In  one  place  it  is  5  ells  high,  and  in 

*  See  p.  191.  This  is  in  the  space  afterwards  occupied  by  the  Hall  erected 
by  the  Knights  Templars  for  their  armoury,  and  which  at  the  present  day  opens 
from  the  Aks§,  Mosque,  and  is  called  Baka'at  al  Baidha,  or  Aksa  al  Kadimah. 


others  the  roof  of  the  passage-way  is  20  ells  above  you.  Over 
this  passage-way  has  been  erected  the  Main-building  of  the  (Aksa) 
Mosque ;  for.  the  masonry  is  so  solidly  laid,  that  they  have  been 
able  to  raise  the  enormous  building  that  is  seen  here  without  any 
damage  arising  to  what  is  below.  They  have  made  use  of  stones 
of  such  a  size,  that  the  mind  cannot  conceive  how,  by  human 
power,  they  were  carried  up  and  set  in  place.  It  is  said,  however, 
that  the  building  was  accomplished  by  Solomon,  the  son  of  David 
—peace  be  upon  him  !  The  Prophet— peace  and  blessing  be 
upon  him  ! — on  the  night  of  his  ascent  into  heaven,  passed  into 
the  Noble  Sanctuary  through  this  passage-way,  for  the  gateway 
opens  on  the  road  from  Makkah.  Near  it,  in  the  wall,  is  seen  the 
imprint  on  the  stone  of  a  great  shield.  It  is  said  to  be  that  of 
Hamzah  ibn  'Abd  al  Mutallib,  the  Prophet's  uncle — peace  be 
upon  him  ! — who  once  seated  himself  here  with  his  shield  slung 
on  his  back,  and,  leaning  against  the  wall,  left  the  mark  of  the 
same  thereon.  This  gateway  of  the  Haram  leading  into  the 
tunnelled  passage-way  is  closed  by  a  double-leafed  door,  and  the 
wall  of  the  Haram  Area  outside  it  is  of  a  height  of  near  upon  50 
ells.  The  reason  for  the  piercing  of  this  gateway  was  to  enable 
the  inhabitants  of  the  suburb  lying  obliquely  beyond  to  enter  the 
Haram  Area  at  their  pleasure  without  having  to  pass  through 
other  quarters  of  the  city.  To  the  right  of  this  gateway  there  is 
in  the  wall  a  block  of  stone  1 1  *  cubits  high  and  4  cubits  across ; 
and  this  is  larger  than  any  of  the  other  stones  of  the  wall, 
although  there  are  many  that  measure  4  and  5  ells  across,  set  in 
the  masonry  at  a  height  of  30  and  40  ells." 

(vii.)  "  In  the  width  of  the  Haram  Area  there  is  a  gate,  open- 
ing towards  the  east,  called  Bab  al  'Ain  (or  the  Gate  of  the  Spring), 
passing  out  from  which  you  descend  a  declivity  to  the  Spring  of 
Silwan  (Siloam)." 

(ix.)  "There  is  also  another  gate,  the  passage-way  of  which  is 
excavated  in  the  ground,  and  it  is  called  Bab  al  Hittah  (the  Gate 
of  Remission).  They  say  that  this  is  the  gate  by  which  God — be 
He  exalted  and  glorified  ! — commanded  the  children  of  Israel  to 
enter  the  Noble  Sanctuary,  according  to  His  word  —  be  He 

*  Other  MSS.  read  "  fifteen."     These  are  the  stones  in  the  Great  Course. 

12 2 


exalted  ! — (in  the  Kuran,  chapter  ii.  55) :  '  Enter  ye  the  gate  with 
prostrations,  and  say  (Hittah),  Remission!  and  We  will  pardon 
you  your  sins,  and  give  an  increase  to  the  doers  of  good.' " 

(i.#.)  "There  is  still  another  gate  (to  the  Haram  Area),  and  it 
is  called  Bab  as  Sakinah  (the  Gate  of  the  Shechinah,  or  Divine 
Presence) ;  and  in  the  hall  adjacent  thereto  is  a  mosque  that  has 
many  Mihrabs  (or  prayer-niches).  The  door  of  the  entrance 
thereof  is  barred,  so  that  no  one  can  pass  through.  They  say 
that  the  Ark  of  the  Shechinah,  which  God — be  He  exalted  and 
glorified ! — has  alluded  to  in  the  Kuran,  was  once  placed  here, 
but  was  borne  away  by  angels.  The  whole  number  of  gates,  both 
upper  and  lower,  in  the  Noble  Sanctuary  of  the  Holy  City  is  nine, 
as  we  have  here  enumerated  them."  (N.  Kh.,  pp.  29-32,  39-43.) 

The  key  to  the  puzzle  presented  by  the  varied  nomenclature  of 
the  gates  of  the  Haram  Area  cannot  be  better  given  than  in  Sir 
C.  Wilson's  own  words.  He  writes  : 

'A  comparison  of  the  descriptions  of  Mukaddasi  (985  A.D.) 
and  Nasir-i-Khusrau  (1047  A.D.)  with  each  other,  and  with  the 
description  of  Mujir  ad  Din  (1496  A.D.)  and  existing  remains, 
enables  me  to  identify  many  of  the  gates  with  some  degree  of 
certainty,  and  to  show  that  a  change  took  place  in  the  Arab 
nomenclature  of  the  gates  between  the  eleventh  and  fifteenth 
centuries — possibly  when  Jerusalem  was  captured  by  Saladin. 
Nasir  describes  the  Bab  an  Nabi  (Gate  of  the  Prophet)  beneath 
the  Mosque  Al  Aksa  in  such  terms  as  to  leave  no  doubt  of 
its  identification  with  the  double  gateway  and  passage  leading 
upwards  from  it  beneath  the  Mosque  to  the  Haram  Area.  He 
also  mentions  another  gate — Bab  Hittah  (Gate  of  Remission) 
— as  being  excavated  in  the  ground;  and  the  only  known 
gate  of  the  Haram  of  this  character  is  the  closed  Gate  of 
Muhammad,  or  of  the  Prophet,  beneath  the  Bab  al  Magharibah. 
If,  now,  we  turn  to  Mukaddasi's  list  of  gates,  we  find  that  he 
commences  with  Bab  Hittah,  that  his  second  gate  is  *  the  two 
Gates  of  the  Prophet,'  and  that  he  ends  with  the  Gate  Daud, 
which  is,  without  dispute,  the  Bab  as  Silsilah  (the  Gate  of  the 
Chain)  of  the  present  day.  The  inference  I  draw  from  this  is  that 
Mukaddasi  named  the  gates  in  order,  commencing  with  the  Bab 

•   •     i  -b;       .n  •» 

ui>    i-ib   i  '  ',-  .^'.'J-uk"  liKifcrff 

o  o 





Hittah,  and  ending  with  the  Bab  Baud,  and  not,  as  might  have 
been  supposed,  at  haphazard. 

'In  attempting  to  identify  the  Gates  with  those  which  now 
exist,  it  is  necessary  to  bear  in  mind  that  the  Haram  Area,  with 
its  buildings  and  the  approaches  to  it,  has  been  much  altered  at 
various  periods,  as,  for  instance,  during  the  Latin  kingdom,  after 
the  recapture  of  the  city  by  the  Saracens,  and  when  the  walls 
were  rebuilt  by  the  Sultan  Sulaiman  in  the  sixteenth  century.' 

Taking  the  list  in  the  order  given  by  Mukaddasi,  and  beginning 
with  the  Bab  Hittah,  we  must  reverse  the  order  of  Nasir's  enumera- 
tion, who,  entering  at  the  Bab  Daud,  and  turning  to  the  left,  takes 
the  Gates  in  the  contrary  order  to  that  we  shall  now  follow. 
To  the  description  given  by  Nasir  (already  quoted)  are  here 
added  the  few  notes  taken  from  later  authorities,  ending  with  what 
Suyuti,  writing  in  1470,  has  to  tell  of  the  history  of  the  Gates 
after  their  restoration  at  the  hands  of  Saladin's  successors. 
Suyuti's  description  has  been  copied  verbatim  by  Mujir  ad  Din, 
who  has  added  nothing  to  what  he  has  borrowed  without  acknow- 
ledgment from  his  predecessor.  The  substance  of  the  proposed 
identifications  here  following  is  taken  from  Sir  C.  Wilson's  paper 
referred  to  above. 

Mukaddasi's  Bab  Hittah  (i)*  (Gate  of  Remission)  is  the 
Bab  al  Hittah  (ix.)  of  Nasir,  described  (above,  p.  179)  as 
"  excavated  in  the  ground."  Ibn  al  Fakih  and  Ibn  'Abd 
Rabbih  both  mention  this  Bab  Hittah  (see  p.  174).  After 
the  Crusaders,  however,  it  appears  to  have  changed  its  name,  and 
the  old  Bab  Hittah  can  only  be  identified  with  the  present  Bab 
al  Burak,  or  Bab  an  Nabi  Muhammad  (often  called  "  Barclay's 
Gate  "),  which  lies  half  underground,  and  which  may  now  be 
entered  beneath  the  modern  Bab  al  Magharibah.  Of  the  present 
Bab  al  Magharibah  above  this  ancient  Gate,  Suyuti  writes  as 
follows  :  "  Bab  al  Magharibah  (the  Gate  of  the  Mogrebins  or 
Western  Africans)  is  so  called  from  its  being  in  the  neighbour- 
hood of  the  Gate  of  the  Mosque  of  the  Mogrebins,  where 

*  The  Arabic  numerals  (i)  to  (n),  and  the  Roman  numerals  (i.)  to  (ix.) 
refer  respectively  to  Mukaddasi's  and  Nasir's  enumeration  of  the  Gates  given 
on  pp.  174-180. 


they  have  their  prayers.  The  quarter  named  from  this  Gate 
lies  at  the  south-eastern  corner  of  the  City.  This  Gate  is  also 
called  Bab  an  Nabi  (the  Gate  of  the  Prophet)."  (S.,  268  ; 
M.  a.  D.,  383.) 

Mukaddasi's  "  Two  Gates  of  the  Prophet "  (2)  (with  Ibn  al 
Fakih's  Bab  an  Nabi  and  Ibn  'Abd  Rabbih's  Bab  Muhammad) 
must  correspond  with  Nasir's  "  Gate  of  the  Prophet "  (viii.), 
which  is  described  as  being  like  a  tunnel  in  the  South  Wall, 
under  the  Aksa,  and  leading  up  by  steps  into  the  Court  of  the 
Haram  Area  (see  p.  178).  This  Gate  (viii.)  is,  doubtless,  the 
same  as  that  referred  to  (vm.a)  by  Nasir  in  another  paragraph 
(p.  178)  as  "leading  to  the  places  for  the  ablution  "•  —  remains 
of  water-pipes  and  cells  being  still  shown  at  this  point  in  the  sub- 
structures of  the  Aksa ;  for  the  ancient  Gate  of  the  Prophet  under 
the  Aksa  can  only  be  the  so-called  Double  Gate>  long  since  Availed 
up,  but  still  to  be  seen  closing  the  southern  side  of  the  vaults 
under  the  Aksa.*  These  vaults  in  Mujir  ad  Din's  time  (1496) 
were  known  as  Al  Aksa  al  Kadimah,  the  Ancient  Aksa. 
(M.  a.  D.,  379.)  As  late  as  the  date  of  Ibn  Batutah's  visit, 
in  1355,  if  we  are  t°  believe  that  travellers  account,  the  gateway 
here  was  still  open.  He  writes  :  "  On  three  sides  (of  the  Haram 
Area)  are  many  Gates,  but  on  the  Kiblah  (or  south)  side  it  has,  as 
far  as  I  know,  only  one  Gate,  which  is  that  by  which  the 
Imam  enters."  (I.  B.,  i.  121.)  This  Gate  is  not  mentioned 
by  either  Suyuti  or  Mujir  ad  Din. 

Mukaddasi's  "Gates  of  the  Mihrab  Maryam "  (3)  must  have 
stood  close  to  the  Mihrab  of  Mary  (now  called  the  Cradle  of 
Jesus),  mentioned  by  the  same  authority  (see  p.  165);  these 
Gates  apparently  correspond  with  the  Bab  al  'Ain  (the  Gate  of 
the  Spring),  described  by  Nasir  (vii.),  by  which  one  could  go 
down  to  Siloam  (see  p.  179).  The  ancient  "Single  Gate,"  or 
perhaps  with  greater  probability  the  ancient  "Triple  Gate" — both 
in  the  eastern  part  of  the  South  Wall,  and  leading  to  the  sub- 

*  The  illustration  opposite  shows  the  present  appearance  of  this  ancient 
passage-way.  The  view  is  taken  from  a  point  immediately  within  the  walled- 
u p  gateway  in  the  South  Wall.  The  illustrations  facing  pp.  177  and  181  show 
the  position  and  present  appearance  of  the  Double  Gate  from  without. 








structures  of  the  "  Cradle  of  Jesus  "  and  the  "  Stables  of  Solomon," 
and  both  of  which  Gates  are  now  walled  up — must,  one  or  the 
other,  be  the  modern  representative  of  this  Gate.  The  Templars, 
as  before  noted,  stabled  their  horses  in  these  substructures ;  and 
after  Saladin's  conquest  of  the  Holy  City,  all  means  of  egress 
from  the  Haram  Area,  except  west  and  north  through  the  city, 
being  closed,  all  these  Gates  then  came  to  be  walled  up.* 

Ibn  al  Fakih  speaks  of  a  Bab  al  Wadi  (see  p.  161),  which, 
from  its  name,  would  appear  likely  to  have  opened  on  the 
Wadi  Jahannum  (Kedron),  on  the  east  of  the  Haram  Area.  In 
this  part  of  the  Haram  Wall,  and  somewhat  to  the  south  of 
the  "  Golden  Gate,"  may  still  be  seen  a  walled-up  door,  which 
probably  occupies  the  position  of  the  gateway  mentioned  by 
Ibn  al  Fakih.  Of  this  walled-up  Gate,  Mujir  ad  Din  notes  as 
follows  :  "In  the  Eastern  Wall  of  the  Haram  Area,  to  the  south 
of  the  Gates  of  Mercy  and  Repentance,  is  a  fine  Gate  now  closed 
with  masonry.  It  lies  opposite  the  steps  leading  down  from 
the  Platform  (of  the  Dome  of  the  Rock)  called  Daraj  (the  Steps 
of)  al  Burak.  Some  say  this  was  the  Gate  al  Burak  by  which  the 
Prophet  entered  on  the  occasion  of  his  Night  Journey.  It  was 
also  formerly  called  Bab  al  Janaiz  (the  Gate  of  the  Funerals),  for 
the  funerals  went  out  by  it  in  ancient  times."  (M.  a.  D.,  380.) 

Apparently  somewhere  in  this  part  of  the  wall  there  was  yet 
another  Gate,  called  the  Gate  of  Jericho — not  to  be  confounded 
with  the  City  Gate  of  that  name  (see  p.  214),  now  called  the 
(iate  of  St.  Stephen.  Mujir  ad  Din  speaks  of  this  Gate  of 
Jericho  as  near  the  spot  where  Muhammad  ibn  Kurram — founder 
of  the  Kurramite  sect — was  buried  in  255  (869).  He  adds  : 
"  The  Gate  known  as  the  Gate  of  Jericho  has  disappeared 
long  ago,  and  since  the  Frank  occupation  there  is  no  trace 
of  it.  Apparently  it  must  originally  have  opened  at  a  place  near 
the  further  end  of  the  houses  that  are  towards  the  Mount  of 
Olives."  (M.  a.  D.,  262.) 

Ibn  al  Fakih's  and  Ibn  'Abd  Rabbih's  Bab  ar  Rahmah,  and  the 

The  accompanying  illustrations  show  the  present  appearance  of  these 
two  walled-up  Gates,  the  position  of  which  in  the  South  Wall  is  shown  in  the 
illustration  facing  p.  177. 


"  Two  Gates  Ar  Rahmah  "  of  Mukaddasi  (4),  are  the  Bab  ar 
Rahmah  and  the  Bab  at  Taubah  (vi.)  of  Nasir  (see  p.  177), 
namely,  the  great  closed  gateway  in  the  East  Wall,  known  at  the 
present  day  to  Europeans  as  the  Golden  Gate.*  This  Gateway 
is  still  known  to  the  Muslims  under  the  name  of  the  Gates  of 
Mercy  and  Repentance.  Suyuti's  account  of  it  is  as  follows  : 

"  The  Bab  ar  Rahmah  (the  Gate  of  Mercy)  lies  to  the  east  of 
the  Aksa  Mosque,  and  is  in  the  wall  of  which  Allah  has  made 
mention  in  the  words  (of  the  Kuran,  Ivii.  13):  'But  between 
them  (the  Hypocrites  and  the  Believers  on  the  Judgment  day) 
shall  be  set  a  wall  with  a  gateway,  within  which  is  Mercy, 
while  without  the  same  is  the  Torment.'  The  valley  which 
lies  beyond  this  Gate  is  the  Wadi  Jahannum.  The  Gate  of 
Mercy  itself  is  inside  the  wall  which  encloses  the  Haram  Area, 
and  the  Gate  referred  to  in  the  above  verse  of  the  Kuran  as  on 
the  Wadi  Jahannum,  is  now  closed,  and  will  only  be  opened  at 
some  future  time,  and  by  the  will  of  Allah — be  He  exalted  ! 
And  as  to  Bab  at  Taubah  (the  Gate  of  Repentance),  it  joins  and 
makes  one  with  the  Gate  of  Mercy,  but  through  neither  of  them 
at  the  present  day  do  men  pass.  Near  the  Gate  of  Repentance, 
and  thus  between  the  Gate  of  Mercy  and  the  Gate  of  the  Tribes, 
is  the  house  (Maskin)  of  Al  Khidr  and  Iliyas  (St.  George  and 
Elias)."  (S.,  265  ;  M.  a.  D.,  380.) 

This,  the  so-called  Golden  Gate,  according  to  M.  de  Vogue  (Le 
Temple  de  Jerusalem,  p.  68),  who  judges  from  the  architectural 
character  of  the  building,  dates  from  Byzantine  times  only,  and, 
in  fact,  was  probably  completed  as  late  as  the  sixth  century  A.D. 
The  denomination  of  the  "  Golden  Gate "  does  not  occur  ap- 
parently before  the  thirteenth  century  (Saewulf),  and  the  name 
(Porta  Aurea)  is  due  to  a  misunderstanding  by  the  mediaeval 
pilgrims,  whose  knowledge  of  Greek  was  rudimentary,  of  ®vpa 
upaia,  "the  gate  called  Beautiful,"  mentioned,  in  Acts  iii.  2,  as 
the  spot  where  St.  Peter  healed  the  lame  man.  The  site  of  this 
miracle,  which  must,  from  the  context,  have  been  performed  near 
one  of  the  inner  gates  of  the  Temple,  the  early  pilgrims  and  the 
Crusaders,  proceeding  in  their  usually  arbitrary  manner,  saw  fit  to 
locate  at  this  Byzantine  structure. 

*  See  the  illustration  facing  p.  177. 


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Mukaddasi's  "Gate  of  the  Birkat  Bani  Israil "  (5)  must  be 
the  easternmost  gate  in  the  north  wall  of  the  Harain  Area, 
which  Nasir  (see  p.  176)  calls  the  Bab  al  Abwab  (the  Gate  of 
Gates)  (v.),  and  which,  since  Crusading  days,  has  always  been 
known  as  the  Bab  al  Asbat  (the  Gate  of  the  Tribes).  Suydti 
writes  of  this  gate  as  follows  :  "  Bab  al  Asbat  (the  Gate  of  the 
Tribes)  is  in  the  hinder  (or  northern)  part  of  the  Haram  Area,  not 
far  from  the  house  of  Al  Khidr  and  Iliyas  (St.  George  and  Elias). 
In  the  work  called  Fadail  Bait  al  Mukaddas  (the  '  Excellences  of 
the  Holy  City'),  by  the  Hafidh  Abu  Bakr  al  Wasiti  the  Khatib, 
there  is  mention  made  of  the  Bab  Maskin  al  Khidr  (the  Gate  of 
Al  Khidr's  house)  as  standing  here ;  but  the  author  of  the  Muthir 
al  Ghiram  gives  no  indication  of  any  such  gate  having  existed, 
although  he  mentions  the  house  of  Al  Khidr  when  enumerating 
the  saints  who  entered  and  sojourned  in  the  Holy  City.  The 
author  of  the  Kitdb  al  Uns,  on  the  authority  of  Shahr  ibn  Jaushab, 
states  that  the  house  of  Al  Khidr  is  in  the  Holy  City,  at  a  spot 
between  the  Gate  of  Mercy  and  the  Gate  of  the  Tribes  ;  and  he 
goes  on  to  say  that  Al  Khidr  was  wont  to  pray  every  Friday  in 
five  different  mosques — namely,  in  the  Mosque  of  Makkah,  and 
the  Mosque  of  Al  Madinah,  and  the  Mosque  of  Jerusalem,  and 
the  Mosque  of  Kuba  (two  miles  south  of  Al  Madinah),  and  on 
every  Friday  night  in  the  Mosque  of  Sinai."  (S.,  266  ;  M.  a.  D., 


From  the  preceding  paragraph  it  naturally  follows  that  the  Gate 
of  the  Tribes  (Bab  al  Asbat)  mentioned  by  Ibn  al  Fakih  and 
Ibn  'Abd  Rabbih  (pp.  161,  164),  also  the  gate  of  this  name  men- 
tioned by  Mukaddasi  (6),  and  (iv.)  described  by  Nasir  (see  p.  176) 
as  opening  in  the  north  wall  west  of  the  "  Gate  of  Gates,"  must 
be  identified  with  the  gate,  now  and  ever  since  Crusading  times 
called  Bab  al  Hittah  (the  Gate  of  Remission).  Suyuti,  as  will 
be  seen,  applies  to  this  (northern)  gate  (writing  in  1470)  the 
legendary  account  which  Nasir  (in  1047)  related  anent  the  more 
ancient  Bab  Hittah  at  the  south-west  corner  of  the  Haram  Area. 
Suyuti  writes  :  "Bab  Hittah  (the  Gate  of  Remission)  is  so  called 
because  the  children  of  Israel  were  directed  to  enter  their  house 
of  prayer  thereby,  saying,  'Remission,  O  Lord,  for  our  sins.' 
The  following  is  given  on  the  uthority  of  'Ali  ibn  Sallam  ibn 


'Abd  as  Sallam,  who  was  told  by  his  father  that  he  had  heard  Abu 
Muhammad  ibn  'Abd  as  Sallam  state  as  follows — namely,  that  the 
Brazen  Gate,*  which  is  in  the  (Aksa)  Mosque,  is  the  (celebrated) 
Bab  al  Hamal  al  Ausat  (the  middle  Ram  Gate),  and  is  of  the 
workmanship  of  the  Chosroes ;  and  that  the  brazen  gate  which 
closes  the  (main)  gateway f  of  the  Haram  Area  is  the  Gate  of 
David,  through  which  he  was  wont  to  pass,  going  from  Sion  to 
Solomon's  Market-place ;  while,  lastly,  the  gate  of  the  gateway 
known  at  present  (in  1470)  as  the  Bab  Hittah(Gate  of  Remission) 
was  formerly  at  Jericho,  which  city  having  come  to  ruin,  the  gate 
was  transported  from  thence  to  the  Noble  Sanctuary."  (S.,  267  ; 
M.  a.  D.,  381.) 

The  Hashimite  Gates  mentioned  by  Mukaddasi  (7),  and  possibly 
the  gate  of  the  same  name  (but  noted  in  inversed  order)  given  by 
Ibn  'Abd  Rabbih  (see  p.  164),  most  probably  correspond  to  the 
gate  (iii.)  said  by  Nasir  (p.  176)  to  lead  to  the  Cloisters  of  the 
Sufis,  and  to  open  in  the  north  wall  west  of  his  (Nasir's)  Bab  al 
Asbat.  It  would,  therefore,  correspond  with  the  modern  Bab  al 
'Atm  (Gate  of  the  Darkness),  which  Suyuti  notes  was,  in  his  day 
(as  at  the  present  time),  also  called  "  Bab  Sharaf  al  Anbiya  (the 
Gate  of  the  Glory  of  the  Prophets).  It  is  that  now,  further, 
called  Bab  ad  Dawidariyyah.:}:  It  opens  from  the  northern  side 
of  the  Haram  Area."  (S.,  267  ;  M.  a.  D.,  382.) 

Mukaddasi's  Bab  al  Walid  (8)  (mentioned,  but  in  different 
order,  by  Ibn  'Abd  Rabbih)  is  possibly  the  present  Bab  al 
Ghawanimah  (the  northernmost  in  the  west  wall),  of  which  Suyuti 
speaks  in  the  following  terms.  That,  as  he  states,  it  was  anciently 
called  the  Gate  of  Abraham  does  not,  however,  correspond  with 
what  follows  in  Mukaddasi,  where  the  next  gate  (lying  to  the 
south,  presumably,  of  the  Bab  al  Walid)  is  called  the  Bab  Ibrahim. 
Possibly,  however,  the  names  had  become  interchanged,  as  we 
have  already  seen  was  the  case  in  other  instances.  Suyuti's 
description  is  as  follows  :  "  Bab  al  Ghawanimah  (the  Gate  of  the 

*  See  p.  99.  t  The  present  Bab  as  Silsilah. 

+  The  Dawidariyyah  is  the  house  of  the  Dawidar — more  correctly  the 
Dawat-dur — or  Secretary,  a  Persian  word  signifying  "  he  who  carried  the  ink- 
stand." It  is  also  spelt  Duwaidariyyah. 


Men  of  the  Family  of  Ghanim*)  is  that  adjoining  the  Lieutenant's 
Palace  (the  Dar  an  Niyabah).  It  is  the  first  .(or  northernmost)  on 
the  western  side  of  the  Haram  Area.  Anciently,  it  is  said,  this 
gate  was  called  Bab  al  Khalil  (the  Gate  of  Abraham  *  the  Friend ')." 
(S.,  267;  M.  a.  D,  383.) 

Mukaddasi's  Bab  Ibrahim  (9),  if  the  foregoing  identification  be 
accepted,  would  then  correspond  with  the  Bab  as  Sakar  (Gate  of 
Hell),  which  Nasir  (ii.)  states  is  the  only  one  opening,  in  his 
day,  in  the  west  wall  to  the  north  of  the  Balp  Daud.  (See 
p.  176.)  This  is  apparently  the  modern  Bab  an  Nadhir  (the  Gate 
of  the  Inspector),  of  which  Suyuti  writes  to  the  following  effect : 
u  Bab  an  Nadhir  (the  Gate  of  the  Inspector)  is  a  gate  that  is  said 
never  to  have  been  restored.  Anciently,  it  was  called  Bab  Mikail 
(the  Gate  of  Michael) ;  and,  according  to  report,  it  is  the  gate  to 
which  Gabriel  tied  the  steed  Al  Burak  on  the  occasion  of  the 
Night  Journey."  (S.,  267  ;  M.  a.  D,  383.) 

South  of  this  gate,  in  the  present  western  wall  of  the  Haram 
Area,  is  one  built,  presumably,  since  Saladin's  days,  since  no 
notice  occurs  of  it  in  the  more  ancient  writers.  Suyuti  speaks  of 
it  by  the  name  it  bears  at  the  present  day.  He  writes  : 

"  Bab  al  Hadid  (the  Iron  Gate)  is  one  that  has  been  rebuilt  (or 
recently  built).  Anciently,  it  was  called  after  Arghun  al  Kamili,+ 
who  founded  the  Madrasah  (or  college)  of  the  Arghuniyyah, 
which  lies  on  the  left  hand  as  you  go  out  through  it."  (S.,  268  ; 
M.  a.  D.,  383.) 

Mukaddasi's  "Gate  of  the  Mother  of  Khalid "  (10)  (called 
Dar  Umm  Khalid,  of  the  House  of  Khalid's  Mother,  by  Ibn  al 
Fakih)  is  probably  the  modern  Bab  al  Kattanin  (the  Gate 
of  the  Cotton  Merchants'  Bazaar) ;  or  it  might  possibly  be 
the  gate  to  the  north  of  this,  called  the  Bab  al  Hadid,  just 
described;  but  this  latter  identification  is  the  less  likely  of 
the  two.  Suyuti  writes  of  the  first-mentioned  gate :  "  Bab  al 
Kattanin  (the  Gate  of  the  Cotton  Merchants)  is  one  of  those  that 
has  been  restored.  Al  Malik  an  Nasir  ibn  Kala'un  was  the  prince 

*  Descendants  of  Shaikh  Gh£nim  ibn  'Ali,  who  was  born  near  N&bulus  in 
562  (1167),  and  died  in  632  at  Damascus.  Saladin  made  him  chief  of  the 
Khftnkah  Saliihiyyah,  the  Derwish  house  founded  by  him  at  Jerusalem. 

t  Lieuienant  of  Syria.     He  died  in  758  (1357). 


who  first  built  it ;  but  it  afterwards  fell  into  complete  ruin  and 
disuse.  When  the  late  Naib  (Lieutenant)  of  Syria,  Tankiz  an 
Nasiri,*  built  the  colonnade  which  runs  all  along  the  western  wall 
of  the  Noble  Sanctuary,  and  the  Suk  al  Kattanin  (the  Cotton 
Market),  he  rebuilt,  at  the  same  time,  this  gate  with  the  high 
portal,  seen  here  at  the  present  day."  (S.,  268 ;  M.  a.  D.,  238.) 

Immediately  to  the  south  of  the  above  comes  the  Gate  known 
at  the  present  day  as  Bab  al  Mutawadda  (the  Gate  of  the 
Ablutions),  or  Al  Matarah  (Gate  of  Rain).  This  is  a  gateway 
opened  since  Crusading  time,  and  which  Suyuti  speaks  of  under 
the  name  of  the  Gate  of  the  Reservoir.  He  writes :  "  Bab  as 
Sikkayah  (the  Gate  of  the  Reservoir)  is  said  to  be  an  ancient 
Gate.  It  had  fallen  to  ruin  of  recent  years,  but  when  the  late 
'Ala  ad  Din  Al  Busirf  constructed  the  tank  for  the  ablution,  which 
he  gave  the  people,  he  rebuilt,  too,  this  Gate.  May  it  not  be 
allowed  to  fall  again  into  decay!"  (S.,  268;  M.  a.  D.,  383.) 

Lastly  comes  Mukaddasi's  Bab  Daud  (n),  the  Great  Gate  of 
David,  by  which  Nasir  (i.)  begins  his  enumeration  on  entering  the 
Haram  Area.  It  is  now  known  as  the  Bab  as  Silsilah  (the  Gate 
of  the  Chain).  The  adjoining  Bab  as  Salam  (Gate  of  Peace)  is 
that  alluded  to  by  Mukaddasi  (see  p.  174)  in  his  preface  as 
the  Bab  as  Sakinah,  and  described  under  the  same  name  (\.a) 
by  Nasir  (see  p.  180)  as  having  a  hall  and  place  of  prayer 
with  many  Mihrabs.  Of  these  last,  no  traces  remain  at  the 
present  day.  These  two  Gates  Suyuti  speaks  of  in  the  following 
words :  "  Bab  as  Silsilah  (the  Gate  of  the  Chain),  and  the  Bab  as 
Sakinah,  stand  side  by  side.  The  Bab  as  Silsilah  was  anciently 
called  the  Bab  Datid  (David's  Gate).  Bab  as  Sakinah  (the  Gate 
of  the  Shechinah  or  Divine  Presence)  opens  near  the  Gate  of  the 
Madrasah  (or  College),  called  Al  Baladiyyah ;  and  close  by  it 
also  is  the  Southern  Minaret.  The  Royal  College,  called  Al 
Madrasah  al  Ashrafiyyah,  lies  to  the  north  of  the  same."  (S.,  268  ; 
M.  a.  D,  383.) 

The  following  table  shows  in  a  concise  manner  the  proposed 
identifications  of  the  various  Gates  of  the  Haram  Area  : 

*  Tankiz  al  Hisami  or  An  Nasiri  was  Lieutenant  of  Syria  under  Sultan  An 
Nasir  Muhammad  ibn  Kala'un.     Tankiz  died  741  (1340). 
t  He  died  in  1291  A.D.     See  M.  a.  D.,  p.  606. 



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The  colonnades  running  along  the  inner  side  of  the  boundary 
walls  of  the  Haram  Area  would  appear  to  have  stood,  in  the  early 
Muslim  days,  very  much  in  the  same  positions  which  they  now 
occupy.  Our  earliest  notice  of  them  is  in  Mukaddasi,  who  says 
(see  p.  99)  that  "  on  the  right  hand  "  (that  is,  along  the  West 
Wall)  ran  colonnades,  as  also  "at  the  back"  (that  is,  along  the 
North  WTall)  of  the  Haram  Area  were  colonnades,  the  ceilings  of 
which  are  described  as  studded  with  mosaics. 

The  East  W^all  of  the  Haram  Area,  overhanging  the  Wadi  Jahan- 
num,  and  in  which  stands  the  Golden  Gate,  is  stated  to  have  no  colon- 
nades along  it.  Neither  was  there  any  colonnade  along  the  portion 
of  the  South  Wall  extending  from  the  south-east  angle  (above  the 
Cradle  of  Jesus)  to  the  Eastern  Wall  of  the  Aksa.  From  these 
particulars  it  is  evident  that  in  Mukaddasi's  days  the  Haram  Area, 
as  far  as  the  lateral  colonnades  are  concerned,  showed  exactly 
the  appearance  to  be  seen  at  the  present  day.  Mukaddasi  also 
states  the  reasons  (p.  99)  why  the  Aksa  was  not  placed  sym- 
metrically in  the  centre  of  the  South  Wall  of  the  Haram  Area. 

The  Persian  traveller,  Nasir-i-Khusrau  (1047),  gives  us  more 
exact  details  of  these  colonnades,  which  agree  very  exactly  with 
what  Mukaddasi  (985)  has  described.  Along  the  West  Wall 
Nasir  states  that  to  the  right  (south)  of  the  Gate  of  David  ran 
two  great  colonnades,  each  with  twenty-nine  marble  pillars  (sec 
p.  176).  The  two  colonnades  I  understand  to  refer,  the  first,  to 
that  running  from  the  Gate  of  David  to  the  Gate  Bab  al  Hittah 
(the  present  Bab  al  Magharibah) ;  the  second,  from  this  last  Gate 
down  to  the  south-west  angle,  where  it  joined  the  colonnade  of 
forty-two  arches  on  the  South  Wall.  (See  Plan  facing  p.  150, 
/7,  a  and  g.)  To  the  left  of  the  Gate  of  David,  northwards  up 
to  the  north-west  angle,  was  a  long  colonnade  of  sixty-four  arches. 
The  Gate  of  David  (the  present  Gate  of  the  Chain)  had  beside  it 
another  Gate  called  the  Bab  as  Sakinah  (the  Gate  of  the  Shechinah, 
or  Divine  Presence),  which  led  to  a  hall  with  a  small  mosque 
adjacent,  in  which  were  many  oratories.  (See  p.  180.)  Of  this, 
apparently  no  traces  remain  at  the  present  day;  and  Mukad 


dasi,  sixty  years  before  Nasir,  makes  no  mention  of  it  as  having 
existed  in  his  time.  The  North  Wall  of  the  Haram  Area,  which 
in  Mukaddasi's  days  had  colonnades  roofed  in  mosaic  work,  had 
two  sets  of  colonnades  when  seen  by  Nasir.  From  the  Gate  at 
the  north-east  angle  (the  present  Bab  al  Asbat),  which  Nasir 
names  the  Bab  al  Abwab,  westwards,  to  the  next  Gate,  called  by 
him  the  Bab  al  Asbat  (at  present  the  Bab  Hittah),  was  "a  colon- 
nade, with  arches  that  rested  on  solid  pillars."  (Plan  facing  p.  150, 
at/)  And  westward  of  this  Gate  again,  presumably  extending  as 
far  as  the  north-west  angle,  and  therefore  joining  the  colonnade 
along  the  West  Wall,  were  two  colonnades  (see  p.  177,  and  Plan, 
at  e  and  </),  one  beyond  the  other,  in  or  near  the  westernmost  of 
which  was  the  "  large  and  beautiful  Dome  "  of  Zachariah  (Plan,  W), 
of  which,  however,  no  traces  remain  at  the  present  day. 

The  West  Wall  of  the  Haram  Area,  overhanging  the  Wadi 
Jahannum,  had  no  colonnade;  and  from  the  south-east  angle, 
along  the  South  Wall,  "  for  a  space  of  200  ells  (or  400  feet),"  to 
the  east  wall  of  the  Aksa,  was  (Nasir  states),  as  at  present,  a  bare 
wall.  The  only  colonnade  mentioned  by  Nasir,  of  which  no 
mention  is  found  in  Mukaddasi,  is  that  of  "  forty-two  arches  " 
running  along  the  South  Wall,  west  of  the  Aksa,  from  the 
western  wall  of  the  Mosque  to  the  south-west  angle  of  the  Haram 
Area,  where  it  joined  the  colonnade  of  the  WTest  Wall.  (Plan,  g.) 
This  colonnade  occupied  the  ground  afterwards  covered  by  the 
Armoury  of  the  Templars.  (Seep.  107.) 

After  Nasir's  visit  came  the  century  of  the  Crusades,  and 
then  Saladin's  restorations.  Our  next  authority  is  Mujir  ad  Din 
in  1496.  He  describes  the  colonnades  he  saw,  and  gives  the 
dates  of  their  building  or  restoration,  as  will  be  found  in  the 
following  paragraphs :  "  The  colonnades  that  go  along  the  West 
Wall  inside  were  all  built  during  the  reign  of  Al  Malik  an  Nasir 
Muhammad  ibn  Kala'un  (A.D.  1310-1341).  The  colonnade  going 
from  the  Magharibah  Gate  to  the  Gate  of  the  Chain  was  built  in 
713  (1314);  that  running  from  the  Minaret  at  the  Gate  of  the 
Chain  to  the  Gate  of  the  Inspector  in  737  (1336) ;  that  from  the 
Gate  of  the  Inspector  to  the  Bab  al  Ghawanimah  in  707  (1307). 
The  colonnades  along  the  north  wall  were  erected  at  the  time  of 


the  foundations  of  the  respective  buildings  they  flank."  (M.  a.  D., 
376.)  Since  Mujir  ad  Din's  days  the  colonnades  must  have  been 
frequently  repaired ;  but,  as  seen  at  the  present  day,  they  are,  to 
all  intents,  identical  with  those  here  described  in  1496.  (See 
Plan  facing  p.  172.) 


The  dimensions  of  the  Haram  Area  are  given  by  many  of  the 
early  authorities,  some  of  whom  apparently  measured  the  great 
court  for  themselves,  while  some  merely  copied  the  inscription  on 
a  certain  stone  in  the  North  Wall — by  whom  set  up  is  not  known 
— on  which  the  dimensions  are  recorded.  This  stone  was  re- 
discovered by  M.  Clermont-Ganneau  in  1874.  The  surface 
is,  unfortunately,  much  corroded  by  the  weather  —  this  was 
apparently  the  case  even  as  early  as  the  year  1351 — and  the 
inscription  can,  at  the  present  day,  be  only  partially  deciphered. 
According  to  M.  Ganneau's  account,  what  may  be  clearly  read  is, 
in  translation,  the  following  : 

"/«  the  name  of  Allah  the  Compassionate,  the  Merciful,  the 
length  of  (the  Haram  Area  of}  the  Mas/id  is  seven  hundred  and 
four-and-***ty  ells,  and  its  breadth  four  hundred  and  fize-and-fifty 
ells,  the  ell  being  the  ell  of  ****." 

In  M.  Ganneau's  opinion,  the  space  for  the  word  representing 
the  tens,  in  the  enumeration  of  the  length,  will  only  allow  of  its 
having  been  either  eighty  or  thirty ;  thus,  in  full,  784,  or  734. 
Further,  the  specification  of  the  Dhirtf,  or  ell,  in  M.  Ganneau's 
opinion,  cannot  have  been  "  al  Malik,"  or  the  royal  ell ;  because 
the  space  available  on  the  stone  will  not  allow  of  the  five  letters  of 
this  word  (in  the  Arabic)  having  been  inscribed  here ;  also,  he 
adds  that  such  traces  of  letters  as  still  remain  do  not  correspond 
with  the  strokes  of  the  Arabic  letters  in  the  wrord  "al  Malik." 

The  earliest  mention  of  the  exact  dimensions  of  the  Haram 
Area  is  found  in  the  account  (see  p.  162)  written  by  the 
Spanish  Arab,  Ibn  'Abd  Rabbih,  about  the  year  913.  He 
gives  no  reference  to  the  inscribed  stone  slab  in  the  North  Wall, 
but  states  the  length  of  the  Haram  to  be  784  ells,  and  the  breadth 
455  ells>  the  e11  being  "the  Imam  elL"  Good  MSS-  of  lbn  'Abd 


Rabhih's  work  are,  however,  wanting,  and  for  the  word  "  Imam  " 
we  have  only  the  authority  of  the  Cairo-printed  edition  to  rely  on, 
and  this  is  far  from  unimpeachable. 

Ibn  al  Fakih  and  Mukaddasi,  who  are  of  the  same  century  as 
the  Spanish  Arab,  only  give  the  dimensions  of  the  Haram  Area  in 
round  numbers,  namely  1,000  ells  by  700;  and,  according  to  Mukad- 
dasi, the  ell  was  the  royal  Hashimite  ell,  which  measured  about 
18  inches  in  length.  At  this  valuation  we  get  1,500  feet  by  1,050 
feet  for  the  length  and  breadth,  the  present  measurements  being, 
roughly  —  length  1,500  feet,  by  900  feet  for  the  average  breadth. 

The  Persian  traveller  Nasir-i-Khusrau,  who  visited  Jerusalem 
in  1047,  is  tne  ft1"5*  m  so  many  words  to  mention  the  tablet  M. 
Ganneau  has  rediscovered  in  the  North  Wall.  Nasir's  account  is 
most  circumstantial ;  and,  if  the  numbers  in  the  Persian  MS.  of 

could  be  depended  upon  (and  all  the  known 
agree  in  giving  the  same  numbers),  his  testimony  would  settle  the 
point  of  what  was  the  length  originally  inscribed  on  the  tablet ; 
for,  in  Nasir's  days,  the  surface  of  the  stone  would  appear  to  have 
been  still  undamaged.     Nasir's  account  is  as  folio 

ie  greater  length  of  the  Haram  Area  extends  from  north  to 
south;  but  if  the  space  occupied  by  the  Maksurah  (or  Aksa 
Mosque)  be  deducted,  the  shape  of  the  court  is  (roughly)  square, 
with  the  Kiblah  point  lying  towards  the  south.  Now,  it  was  my 
to  obtain  the  measurements  of  the  Haram  Area,  and  I 
said  to  myself:  First,  I  will  come  exactly  to  know  the  place  in  all 
its  aspects,  and  see  the  whole  thereof ;  and  afterwards  will  I  take 
the  measurements.  But  after  passing  some  time  in  the  Noble 
Sanctuary,  and  examining  it,  I  came  on  an  inscription  upon  a 
stone  of  an  arch  in  the  north  wall  (of  the  Haram  Area),  not  far  from 
the  Dome  of  Jacob  (Kubbat  Va'kub)  (Plan  facing  p.  150,  X) — on 
whom  be  peace  !  In  this  inscription  the  length  of  the  Haram 
was  set  down  at  704  cubits  (Ars/i),  and  the  breadth  at  455 
cubits  of  the  royal  measure.  The  royal  ell  (gez-i-malik)  is  the 
same  as  that  which  is  known  in  Khurasan  as  the  Gez-i-Shaigan 
(the  king's  ell),  and  is  equivalent  to  ij  (common)  cubits  (ars/i), 
or  a  fraction  the  less/'*  (N.  Kh.,  28,  29,  31.) 

*  In  this  pas-a^e  gez  (ell)  and  arsk  (cubit)  are  again  used  as  synonymous 
terras.  See  p.  128. 



The  next  authority,  but  one  of  no  great  weight  in  this  matter, 
is  Idrisi,  who  states  that  the  Haram  Area  measures  200  Ba'  (or 
fathoms),  by  180  Ba',  the  B$  being  "the  space  between  the 
extremities  of  the  two  hands  of  a  full-grown  man  when  they  are 
extended  to  the  right  and  left."  (See  Lane's  Dictionary,  s.  v.) 
Taking  the  Ba'  at  6  feet,  this  would  only  give  us  1,200  feet  for  the 
length,  and  1,080  feet  for  the  breadth. 

The  testimony  of  'Ali  of  Herat  is  of  greater  weight.  He  writes, 
describing  the  Haram  Area  in  1173:  "I  read  on  a  stone  the 
following  inscription  :  '  The  length  (of  the  Haram  Area  round]  the 
Mosque  is  700  Royal  e//s,  and  its  breadth  is  455.'  This  stone  is 
to  be  seen  built  into  the  north  wall  of  (the  Haram  Area  that 
surrounds)  the  Aksa  Mosque."  (A.  H.,  Oxf.  MS.,  f.  37, 

From  the  close  of  the  twelfth  century  (a  few  years  before  Sala- 
din's  reconquest  of  Jerusalem),  when  'Ali  of  Herat  wrote,  no  other 
account  has  reached  us  of  the  dimensions  of  the  Haram  Area 
until  the  middle  of  the  fourteenth  century,  when  (in  1355)  the 
traveller  Ibn  Batutah  describes  Jerusalem.  His  Diary  was 
written  out,  many  years  after  his  return  home,  from  notes,  and 
hence  it  is  not  surprising  to  find  that  he  puts  the  length  (north  to 
south)  for  the  breadth  (east  to  west)  of  the  Haram  Area,  and  vice 
versa.  Whether  he  copied  the  figures  from  the  tablet  in  the  North 
Wall  is  not  stated.  After  a  general  description  of  the  Mosque 
at  Jerusalem,  Ibn  Batutah  continues :  "  They  say  there  is  no 
mosque  anywhere  larger  than  this.  The  length  of  the  Haram 
Area  from  east  to  west  is  752  ells  of  the  Dhira/  al  Malikiyyah. 
Its  breadth  from  the  Kiblah  (south)  to  the  north  is  435  ells." 
(I.  B.,i.  121.) 

The  author  of  the  Muthtr  a  I  Ghiram  is  the  first  writer  to 
mention  that  the  tablet  in  the  north  wall,  which  he  read,  was,  in 
his  day,  rendered  somewhat  illegible  by  the  weathering  of  the 
stone.  This  was  in  1351,  a  few  years  prior  to  Ibn  Batutah 's  visit. 
As  will  be  noted,  the  words  recording  both  the  length  and  the 
breadth  were,  in  1351,  clearly  legible,  and  it  was  only  the  speci- 
fication of  the  ell  that  he  could  not  decipher.  The  following 
passage  from  the  author  of  the  Muthir  has  been  quoted  or  copied 


by  many  subsequent  writers,  notably  by  Suyuti  in  1470,  and  by 
Mujir  ad  Din  in  1496.  The  Arabic  text  (collated  from  several 
MSS  in  the  Bibliotheque  Nationale  at  Paris)  is  printed  in  the 
J.  R.  A.  S.,  vol.  xix.,  new  series,  at  p.  305.  The  following  is  a 
translation : 

"It  is  stated  by  Ibn  'Asakir  (died  1176)  that  the  length  of  the 
Haram  Area  is  755  ells,  and  its  breadth  465  ells,  the  ell  being  the 
royal  ell  (DhircC  al  Malik).  And  so  also  writes  Abu'l  Ma'ali  al 
Musharraf  in  his.  book.  Now,  I  myself,  in  old  times,  have  seen 
in  the  northern  wall  of  the  Haram  Area,  above  the  gateway  which 
adjoins  the  Duwaidariyyah,  and  on  the  inner  side  of  the  wall,  a 
slab  on  which  was  inscribed  the  length  and  the  breadth  of  the 
Haram  Area,  and  it  differed  from  what  these  two  authorities  have 
stated.  And  what  was  inscribed  on  this  slab  was :  Length  784  efts, 
breadth  455  ells.  The  inscription,  further,  gives  the  indication  of 
the  ell  used ;  but  I  am  not  sure  whether  this  is  the  ell  mentioned 
above  (which  is  the  royal  ell)  or  some  other,  for  the  inscription 
has  become  indistinct.  The  Haram  Area  was  measured  in  our 
days  with  a  rope,  and  along  the  eastern  wall  it  measured  683  ells, 
and  along  the  western  wall  it  measured  650  ells,  while  in  the 
breadth  (that  is,  along  the  northern  and  the  southern  walls)  it 
measured  438  ells.  These  measurements  being  exclusive  of  the 
width  of  the  outer  walls." 

It  is  to  be  noted  that  the  author  of  the  Muthir  fails  to  state 
what  particular  ell  was  the  one  used  in  the  measurements  made  in 
his  days. 

Mujir  ad  Din,  who  quotes  the  above  (M.  a.  D.,  251),  states  in  a 
subsequent  page  (Cairo  Text,  p.  377)  that  he,  himself,  in  the  year 
1496,  measured  the  Haram  Area  twice  over  to  get  the  figures 
r\act.  The  ell  was  the  workman's  ell,  that  commonly  in  use  in 
his  day,  the  length  of  which  is  equivalent  to  about  2\  feet. 
Mujir  ad  Din's  measurements  are  the  following: 

"  Length  :  From  the  South  Wall  at  the  Mihrab  Daud,  to  the 
back  of  the  colonnade  on  the  North  Wall  near  the  Gate  of  the 
Tribes,  is  660  ells.  This  is  not  counting  the  width  of  the  outer 
walls.  Width  :  From  the  Eastern  Wall,  where  this  overhangs  the 
tombs  that  are  outside  the  Gate  of  Mercy,  to  the  back  of  the 



Western  Colonnade  below  the  Chambers  of  the  Madrasah  Tan- 
kiziyyah,  is  406  ells." 

At  the  valuation  given  above,  660  workman's  ells  would  equal 
1,485  feet,  and  406  ells,  913!  feet. 

The  following  list  gives  in  chronological  order  a  summary  of 
the  above  measurements.  When  it  is  remembered  that  since 
Muslim  days  the  South  Wall  of  the  Aksa  Mosque  (and  therefore 
also  of  the  Haram  Area)  has  always  occupied  the  position  it  does 
at  the  present  day ;  that  the  same  may  be  said  of  the  "  Cradle  of 
Jesus  "  in  the  south-east  corner ;  that  Mukaddasi  as  early  as  985 
mentions  the  Birkat  Bani  Israil,  and  therefore  that  the  north-east 
angle  cannot  have  changed  its  position  since  the  ninth  century ; 
and  finally,  that  the  Gates  in  the  West  Wall,  many  of  them  date 
from  the  first  centuries  of  the  Hijrah--it  must  be  concluded  that 
the  boundaries  of  the  Haram  Area  cannot  have  been  much 
changed  since  the  days  of  the  Khalif  'Abd  al  Malik  at  the  close 
of  the  seventh  century  of  our  era.  The  variation  in  the  figures  is 
doubtless  in  part  due  to  the  error  of  the  copyists ;  in  part  also  to 
the  variety  of  ell  used,  which  ranged  between  the  early  Hashimite 
royal  ell  of  ij  feet,  the  later  royal  ell  of  about  2  feet,  and  the 
workman's  ell  of  the  fifteenth  century,  which  measured  about 
2\  feet. 

A.D.  903.  Ibn  al  Fakih,  in  ells,  1,000  by  700. 

913.  Ibn  'Abd  Rabbih,  "in  Imam  ells,"  784  by  455. 

985.  Mukaddasi,  "  in  royal  Hashimite  ells,"  1,000  by  700, 
equivalent  to  1,500  feet  by  1,050  feet. 

1047.  Nasir-i-Khusrau.  Inscription  on  North  Wall,  "in  royal 
ells,"  read  704  by  455. 

1154.  Idrisi,  measurement  in  Ba'  (fathom),  200  by  180,  equiva- 
lent to  1,200  feet  by  1,080  feet. 

1178.  'AH  of  Herat.  Inscription  on  North  Wall,  "in  royal 
ells,"  700  by  455. 

1176.  Ibn  'Asakir,  as  quoted  by  the  author  of  the  MutJv.r^  "in 
royal  ells,"  755  by  465. 

1351.  The  author  of  the  Muthir  al  Ghiram.  Inscription 
(query  what  ells),  784  by  455. 

Idem,    by   his    own    measurement :    Eastern    Wall,    683    ells ; 


Western  Wall,  650  ells ;  breadth,  438  ells.  (Specification  of  ell 
not  given.) 

1355.  Ibn  Batutah,  "in  royal  ells,"  752  by  435.  (Length  and 
breadth  interchanged  in  error.) 

1496.  Mujir  ad  Din,  from  his  own  measurements,  in  workman's 
ells  (of  about  2\  feet),  660  by  406  (equivalent  to  1,485  feet  and 

9'3i  feet). 

1874.  M.  Clermont  Ganneau's  reading  of  the  inscription  in  the 
North  Wall,  length,  784  or  734;  breadth,  455.  This  in  ells  that, 
according  to  his  reading,  cannot  have  been  royal  ells. 


The  rock  under  the  greater  part  of  the  Haram  Area  is,  in 
various  places,  honeycombed  with  tanks  used  for  storing  water. 
They  arc  mentioned  by  many  of  the  earlier  writers.  These 
reservoirs  during  the  Middle  Ages  were  fed  by  an  aqueduct, 
bringing  water  from  "  Solomon's  Pools ''  in  the  Wadi  Urtas,  near 
Hebron,  which  aqueduct  was  originally  constructed  by  Pontius 
Pilate  (Josephus,  Ant.,  xviii.  3,  §  2).  Of  the  water-cisterns  of  the 
Noble  Sanctuary,  Nasir  gives  the  following  account : 

"The  roofs  of  all  the  buildings  in  the  Haram  Area  are  covered 
with  lead.  Below  the  ground-level  are  numerous  tanks  and  water- 
cisterns  hewn  out  of  the  rock,  for  the  Noble  Sanctuary  rests  every- 
where on  a  foundation  of  live  rock.  There  are  so  many  of  these 
cisterns  that  however  much  rain  falls,  no  water  flows  away  to 
waste,  but  all  is  caught  in  the  tanks,  whence  the  people  come  to 
draw  it.  They  have  constructed  leaden  conduits  for  carrying 
down  the  water,  and  the  rock  cisterns  lie  below  these,  with  covered 
passages  leading  down  thereto,  through  which  the  conduits  pass  to 
the  tanks,  whereby  any  loss  of  water  is  saved,  and  impurities  are 
kept  therefrom. 

"  At  a  distance  of  three  leagues  from  the  Holy  City,  I  saw  a  great 
water-tank  (at  Solomon's  Pools),  whereinto  pour  all  the  streams 
that  flow  down  from  the  hills.  From  thence  they  have  brought 
an  aqueduct  that  comes  out  into  the  Noble  Sanctuary.  Of  all 
parts  of  the  Holy  City  this  is  where  water  is  most  plentiful.  But 
in  every  house  also,  there  is  a  cistern  for  collecting  the  rain-water 


— for  other  than  this  water  there  is  none — and  each  must  store  the 
rain  which  falls  upon  his  roof.  The  water  used  in  the  hot  baths 
and  other  places  is  solely  from  the  storage  of  the  rains.  The 
tanks  that  are  below  the  Haram  Area  never  need  to  be  repaired, 
for  they  are  cut  in  the  live  rock.  Any  place  where  there  may 
have  been  originally  a  fissure  or  a  leakage,  has  been  so  solidly 
built  up  that  the  tanks  never  fall  out  of  order.  It  is  said  that 
these  cisterns  were  constructed  by  Solomon — peace  be  upon  him  ! 
The  roofing  of  them  is  like  that  of  a  baker's  oven  (tann&r).  Each 
opening  is  covered  with  a  stone,  as  at  a  well-mouth,  in  order  that 
nothing  may  fall  therein.  The  water  of  the  Holy  City  is  sweeter 
than  the  water  of  any  other  place,  and  purer;  and  even  when  no 
rain  falls  for  two  or  three  days  the  conduits  still  run  with  water, 
for  though  the  sky  be  clear,  and  there  be  no  trace  of  clouds,  the 
dew  causes  drops  to  fall."*  (N.  Kh.,  39.) 

The  great  cistern,  which  is  in  part  excavated  under  the  Aksa 
Mosque,  goes  by  the  name  of  Bir  al  Warakah,  the  Well  of  the 
Leaf.  To  account  for  the  name,  a  strange  tradition  is  recounted 
(1470)  by  Suyuti,  and  copied  by  Mujir  ad  Din,  and  many  later 
writers,  which  in  substance  reproduces  the  account  given  by  Yakut 
(1225)  in  his  Geographical  Dictionary  under  the  heading  of  Al 
Kalt.  Yakut's  version  will  be  found  translated  in  chapter  vii.,f 
and  may  be  compared  with  what  is  given  here  from  Suyuti. 

"Now  as  to  the  tradition  about  the  leaves  (of  Paradise),  there 
are  many  and  various  accounts  thereof.  In  the  first  place,  from 
Abu  Bakr  ibn  Abi  Maryam,  through  'Utayyah  ibn  Kais,  comes  the 
tradition  that  the  Prophet  said:  'Verily  a  man  from  among  my 
people  shall  enter  Paradise,  walking  upon  his  two  feet  (and  come 
back  again),  and  yet  shall  live.'  Now  during  the  Khalifate  of 
'Omar,  a  caravan  of  men  arrived  at  the  Holy  City  to  make  their 
prayers  there.  And  one  of  them,  a  man  of  the  Bani  Tamim, 
named  Shuraik  ibn  Habashah,  went  off  to  get  water  (from  the  well). 
And  his  bucket  falling  down  into  the  well,  he  descended  and  found 
a  door  there  opening  into  gardens,  and  passing  through  the  door 
into  the  gardens,  he  walked  therein.  Then  he  plucked  a  leaf  from 
one  of  the  trees,  and  placing  it  behind  his  ear,  he  returned  to  the 
*  See  p.  87,  note.  t  See  p.  292. 


well  and  mounted  up  again.  And  the  man  went  to  the  Governor 
of  the  Holy  City,  and  related  to  him  of  what  he  had  seen  in  those 
gardens,  and  how  he  had  come  to  enter  therein.  Then  the  Governor 
sent  men  with  him  to  the  well,  and  they  descended,  many  people 
accompanying  them,  but  they  found  not  the  door,  neither  did  they 
attain  to  the  gardens.  And  the  Governor  wrote  to  the  Khalif 
'Omar  concerning  it  all,  recalling  how  it  was  reported  on  tradition 
that  one  of  the  people  of  Islam  should  enter  the  Garden  of  Paradise, 
and  walk  therein,  on  his  two  feet,  and  yet  live.  'Omar  wrote  in 
answer  :  '  Look  ye  to  the  leaf,  whether  it  be  green  and  do  not 
wither.  If  this  be  so,  verily  it  is  a  leaf  of  Paradise,  for  naught  of 
Paradise  can  wither  or  change ;  and  it  is  recorded  in  the  aforesaid 
tradition  of  the  Prophet  that  the  leaf  shall  not  suffer  change.' 

"  Another  version  of  the  tradition  runs  as  follows  :  Shuraik  ibn 
Habashah  at  Tamimi  came  into  the  Holy  City  to  get  water  for 
his  companions,  and  his  bucket  slipped  from  his  hand,  so  he 
descended  (into  the  well)  to  fetch  it  up.  And  a  person  called  to 
him  in  the  well,  saying,  *  Come  thou  with  me,'  and,  taking  him  by 
the  hand,  he  brought  him  into  the  Garden  of  Paradise.  Shuraik 
plucked  two  leaves,  and  the  person  then  brought  him  back 
to  where  he  had  first  found  him.  Then  Shuraik  mounted  up  out 
of  the  well,  and  when  he  rejoined  his  companions,  he  told  them 
of  all  that  had  happened.  The  affair  reached  the  ears  of  the 
Khalif  'Omar,  and  it  was  Ka'ab  who  remarked  how  it  had 
been  said  (by  the  Prophet)  a  man  of  this  people  of  Islam  shall 
enter  the  Garden  of  Paradise,  and  yet  lire,  adding  :  '  Look  ye 
to  the  leaves  ;  if  they  suffer  change,  then  are  they  not  the  leaves 
of  Paradise,  and  if  they  change  not,  then  must  they  verily  be  of  the 
leaves  of  Paradise.'  And  'Utayyah  asserts  that  the  said  leaves 
never  after  did  suffer  change.  According  to  another  tradition 
(coming  from  Al  Walid),  a  certain  Abu-n-Najm  was  Imam  (leader 
of  prayer)  to  the  people  of  Salamiyyah,  many  of  whom  were  of  the 
desert  tribes.  And  some  of  these  people  told  him  how  they  had 
themselves  been  well  acquainted  with  Shuraik  ibn  Habashah 
when  he  was  living  at  Salamiyyah.  And  they  were  wont  to  inquire 
of  him  concerning  his  entrance  into  the  Garden  of  Paradise,  and 
what  he  saw  therein,  and  of  how  he  had  brought  leaves  there- 


from.  And  these  people  continued :  '  We  inquired  further 
whether  there  yet  remained  by  him  any  one  of  the  leaves  which  he 
had  plucked  there ;  and  when  he  answered  us  affirmatively,  we 
asked  to  see  the  leaf,  and  the  man  called  for  his  Kuran,  and  took 
from  between  its  pages  a  leaf  that  was  entirely  green,  and  gave  it 
into  our  hands.  When  we  had  returned  it  to  him,  after  laying  it 
over  his  eyes,  he  placed  it  back  again  between  the  pages  of 
his  Kuran.  And  when  he  was  at  the  point  of  death,  he  enjoined 
that  we  should  put  this  leaf  on  his  breast  under  the  shroud,  and  his 
last  words  were  to  conjure  us  that  this  should  exactly  be  done.' 
Al  Walid  continues  :  I  inquired  of  Abu-n-Najm  whether  he  had 
heard  a  description  given  of  the  leaf?  He  replied  :  '  Yes  ;  and  it 
was  like  the  leaf  of  a  peach-tree  (Dur&kin\  of  the  size  of  the 
palm  of  a  hand,  and  pointed  at  the  tip.'  Suyuti  adds  :  Now  the 
mouth  of  the  Well  of  the  Leaf  is  in  the  Aksa  Mosque,  on  the  left 
hand  as  you  enter  by  the  door  facing  the  Mihrab."  (S.,  270.  The 
first  tradition  is  copied  by  M.  a.  D.,  368.) 

Besides  the  underground  water-tanks  of  the  Haram,  there  were 
three  celebrated  pools  of  water  in  the  Holy  City.  Mukaddasi, 
in  985,  writes  :  "  There  is  water  in  Jerusalem  in  plenty.  Thus  it 
is  a  common  saying,  that  there  is  no  place  in  Jerusalem  but  where 
you  may  get  water  and  hear  the  Call  to  Prayer ;  and  few  are  the 
houses  that  have  not  cisterns— one  or  more.  Within  the  city  are 
three  great  tanks,  namely,  the  Birkat  Bani  Israil,  the  Birkat 
Sulaiman,  and  the  Birkat  Tyad.  In  the  vicinity  of  each  of  these 
are  baths,  and  to  them  lead  the  water-channels  from  the  streets. 
In  the  Mosque  Area  there  are  twenty  underground  cisterns  of 
vast  size,  and  there  are  few  quarters  of  the  city  that  have  not 
public  cisterns,  though  the  contents  of  these  last  is  only  the  rain- 
water that  drains  into  them  from  the  streets.  At  a  certain  valley, 
about  a  stage  from  the  Holy  City,  they  have  gathered  together 
the  waters,  and  made  there  two  pools,  into  which  the  torrents  of 
the  winter  rains  flow.  From  these  two  reservoirs  there  are 
channels,  bringing  the  water  to  the  City,  which  are  opened  during 
the  spring  in  order  to  fill  the  tanks  under  the  Haram  Area,  and 
also  those  in  other  places."  (Muk.,  167.) 

The  notice    of  these   three   pools,  mentioned   by    Mukaddasi 


as  within  the  city  precincts,  is  copied  by  succeeding  writers,  who 
make  no  attempt  at  any  identification  of  the  two  last  mentioned. 
The  first,  the  Pool  of  the  Children  of  Israel,  is  the  well-known 
tank  called  by  the  same  name  at  the  present  day,  which  lies  outside 
the  north-east  corner  of  the  Haram  Area.  (See  plans  facing  pp. 
150,  172.)  The  traditional  origin  of  its  name  is  thus  recorded  by 
'Ali  of  Herat  : 

"  The  Birkat  Bani  Israil  is  to  the  north  of  the  Haram  Area. 
They  say  that  Bukht  Nasar  (Nebuchadnezzar)  filled  it  with  the 
heads  of  the  Children  of  Israel  that  he  slew."  (A.  H.,  Oxf. 
MS.,  f.  39  v.) 

The  Birkat  Sulaiman  and  the  Birkat  'lyad  do  not  exist  under 
these  names  at  the  present  day.  The  Birkat  Sulaiman  is,  doubt- 
less, the  mediaeval  Pool  of  Bethesda,  the  site  of  which  has  recently 
been  discovered  (see  P.  E.  F.  "  Quarterly  Statement,"  1888,  p.  115) 
near  the  Church  of  St.  Anne.*  Tradition  ascribed  the  digging  of 
both  this  pool  and  the  Birkat  Bani.  Israil  to  King  Solomon.  (See 
P.  P.  T.  Bordeaux  Pilgrim,  p.  20,  and  Citcz  de  Jherusalem,  p.  25  ) 

The  Birkat  'lyad  was  called  after  'lyad  ibn  Ghanm,  a  celebrated 
( 'ompanion  of  the  Prophet,  who  was  with  the  Khalif  'Omar  at  the 
capitulation  of  Jerusalem,  and,  according  to  Mujir  ad  Din 
(M.  a.  D.,  231),  built  a  bath  in  the  Holy  City.  He  diedA.H.  20 
(641).  The  pool  anciently  called  by  his  name  is  probably  the 
present  Birkat  Hammam  al  Butrak,  the  Pool  of  the  Patriarch's  Bath, 
not  far  from  the  Jaffa  Gate,  very  generally  identified  with  the  Pool 
Amygdalon  of  Josephus  and  with  the  Biblical  Pool  of  Hezekiah. 

Suyuti,  in  1470,  whose  account  is  copied  by  Mujir  ad  Din 
(M.  a.  D.,  4091  writes  as  follows  :  "In  regard  to  the  pools  that 
are  in  the  Holy  City,  on  the  report  of  Damrah  from  Ibn  Abi 
Siulah,  it  is  related  that  a  certain  King  of  the  Kings  of  the 
Children  of  Israel,  named  Hazkil  (Hezekiah),  constructed  six 
pools  for  the  Holy  City,  namely,  three  within  the  city,  which  are 
the  Birkat  Bani  Israil,  the  Birkat  Sulaiman,  and  the  Birkat  'lyad, 
and  three  without  the  city,  which  are  the  Birkat  Manilla  and  the 
two  Birkats  of  Al  Marji'.  And  these  he  made  to  store  the  water 
for  the  use  of  the  people  of  the  Holy  City."  (S.,  274.) 
*  See  the  Plan  of  Jerusalem  facing  p.  83. 


With  regard  to  the  pools  outside  the  city  here  alluded  to,  the 
Pool  of  Mamilla  lies  a  short  distance  west  of  the  Jaffa  Gate  of 
Jerusalem,  while  the  Pools  of  Al  Marji'  are  those  known  as 
Solomon's  Pools,  some  miles  from  Hebron,  referred  to  above 
in  the  descriptions  of  Mukaddasi  and  others.  (See  p.  197.) 
Mujir  ad  Din,  writing  in  1496,  adds  that  in  his  days  the  two 
Birkats  of  Tyad  and  Sulaiman  could  no  longer  be  identified,  the 
names  being  unknown  to  the  inhabitants  of  Jerusalem.  (M.  a.  T)., 


The  Church  of  the  Holy  Sepulchre, — In  their  descriptions  of 
Jerusalem,  Muslim  writers  very  naturally  give  but  scant  space  to 
the  mention  of  Christian  edifices.  The  great  Church  of  the 
Resurrection,  however,  founded  by  Constantine  about  the  year 
335,  ruined  by  the  Persian  Chosroes  in  614,  and  restored  by 
Modestus  in  629,  had  been  left  untouched  when,  in  637,  'Omar 
took  possession  of  Jerusalem ;  and,  as  has  been  noted  on  a 
previous  page,  was,  in  Mukaddasi's  days,  "  so  enchantingly  fair, 
and  so  renowned  for  its  splendour,"  as  almost  to  rival  in  beauty 
the  Dome  of  the  Rock  and  the  Great  Mosque  at  Damascus. 
(Seep.  117.) 

The  Church  of  the  Holy  Sepulchre  is  mentioned  as  early  as 
the  year  943  A.D.  by  the  historian  Mas'udi.  The  Muslims,  from 
the  earliest  times,  have  called  this  church  Kanisah  at  Kumamah 
— "  the  Church  of  the  Sweepings,"  or  "  of  the  Dunghill  "- 
Kumamah  being  a  designed  corruption  of  Ka\amah,  the  name 
given  to  the  church  by  the  Eastern  Christians,  this  being  the 
Arabic  equivalent  of  Anastasis — "the  Resurrection."  The  im- 
posture, which  is  still  called  the  Miracle  of  the  Holy  Fire,  is  first 
noticed  by  the  Christian  pilgrim,  Bernard  the  Wise,  in  867. 
Mas'udi's  testimony,  therefore,  some  eighty  years  later,  that  the 
miracle  took  place  in  the  Church  of  the  Holy  Sepulchre  of  the 
Christians,  a  well-known  building,  perfectly  distinct  from  the 
Dome  of  the  Rock  (which  last  Mr.  Fergusson  would  have  us 
believe  was,  at  that  period,  known  as  the  Holy  Sepul.hre],  serves 


to  overturn  from  its  foundations  the  theory  that  Constantino's 
basilica  is  the  Muslim  Dome  of  the  Rock.  Mas'udi  was  sceptical 
as  to  the  miraculous  origin  of  the  fire.  His  account  is  as 
follows : 

"  On  the  fifth  day  of  the  (Syrian)  month  Tishrin  i  (October),  is 
the  festival  of  the  Kanisah  al  Kumamah  (the  Church  of  the 
Sepulchre)  at  Jerusalem.  The  Christians  assemble  for  this  festival 
from  out  all  lands.  For  on  it  the  fire  from  heaven  doth  descend 
among  them,  and  they  kindle  therefrom  the  candles.  The 
Muslims  also  are  wont  to  assemble  in  great  crowds  to  see  the 
sight  of  the  festival.  It  is  the  custom  at  this  time  to  pluck  olive- 
leaves.  The  Christians  hold  many  legends  there  anent ;  but 
the  fire  is  produced  by  a  clever  artifice,  which  is  kept  a  great 
secret."  (Mas.,  iii.  405.) 

Another  passage  from  the  same  author  is  curious  as  showing 
what  were  the  churches  in  the  hands  of  the  Christians  in 
Jerusalem  in  A.D.  943.  After  relating  the  history  of  the  reign  of 
Solomon,  Mas'udi  concludes  his  chapter  with  the  following 
paragraph : 

"  It  was  Solomon  who  first  built  the  Holy  House,  which  same 
is  now  the  Aksa  Mosque — may  Allah  bless  its  precincts  !  When 
he  had  completed  the  building  thereof,  he  set  about  building  a 
house  for  his  own  use.  This  last  is  the  place  that,  in  our  own 
day,  is  called  the  Kanisah  al  Kumamah  (the  Church  of  the 
Resurrection).  It  is  the  largest  church  in  Jerusalem  belonging 
to  the  Christians.  They  have  also  in  the  Holy  City  other  greatly 
honoured  churches  besides  this  one— as,  for  example,  the  Kanisah 
Sihyun  (the  Church  of  Sion),  of  which  David  has  made  mention 
(in  the  Psalms) :  and  the  church  known  as  Al  Jismaniyyah.  This 
last,  they  say,  encloses  the  tomb  of  David."  (Mas.,  i.  i  n.) 

Al  Jismaniyyah  is  the  Arabic  corruption  of  the  name  Geth- 
semane.  The  original  Hebrew  name  has  the  meaning  of  Garden 
of  the  Clire-prcss  ;  while  Jismaniyyah,  in  Arabic,  signifies  "  The 
place  of  the  Incarnation"  and  is  in  allusion,  therefore,  to  a 
different  circumstance  in  the  Gospel  history.  Mukaddasi,  writing 
in  985,  gives  no  description  of  the  Church  of  the  Sepulchre,  only 
alluding  to  it  incidentally.  (See  pp.  98,  117.) 


There  is  some  doubt  as  to  the  exact  year  in  which  the  mad 
Khalif  of  Egypt,  Hakim,  ordered  the  celebrated  destruction  of 
the  Church  of  the  Sepulchre.  Western  authorities  generally  place 
this  event  in  the  year  1010  A.D.  The  chronicle  of  Ibn  al  Athir 
notes  it  as  an  occurrence  of  the  year  of  the  Hijrah  398  (1008). 
He  writes  :  "  In  this  year  Al  Hakim-bi-amr-Illah,  the  Lord  of 
Egypt,  ordered  the  demolition  of  the  Church  of  the  Kumamah, 
which  is  the  church  in  the  Holy  City  (of  Jerusalem)  called 
generally  by  the  (Christians)  Al  Kayamah  (the  Anastasis).  In 
this  church,  according  to  the  belief  of  the  Christians,  is  the  spot 
where  the  Messiah  was  buried  ;  and  on  this  account  it  is  visited 
by  them,  coming  in  pilgrimage  from  all  parts  of  the  earth.  Al 
Hakim  also  commanded  the  other  churches  throughout  his 
dominions  to  be  likewise  pulled  down,  and  so  it  was  done."  (Ibn 
al  Athir,  ix.  147.) 

Makrizi,  however,  an  authority  of  no  less  weight  than  the  above, 
states  that  it  was  in  the  year  400  A.M.  (1010)  that  Al  Hakim 
"  wrote  ordering  the  destruction  of  the  Church  of  the  Kumamah," 
(the  text  is  given  in  De  Sacy's  Chrestomathie  Arabe,  vol.  i.,  p.  60 
of  the  Arabic),  and  this  corresponds  with  the  date  generally  given 
by  Western  writers.  Mujir  ad  Din,  on  the  contrary,  repeats  Ibn  al 
Athir's  date.  He  writes:  "During  the  year  398  (1008),  the 
Khalif  Hakim  ordered  the  Kumamah  to  be  destroyed.  The 
church,  however,  was  allowed  to  be  rebuilt  during  the  reign  of  his 
son,  Al  Mustansir,  by  the  King  of  Rum."  (M.  a.  D.,  269.)  The 
King  of  Rum  here  mentioned  is,  according  to  one  account,  the 
Emperor  Constantine  Monomachus,  who,  about  the  year  1048, 
had  the  church  rebuilt  under  the  superintendence  of  the  Patriarch 
Nicephorus.  Other  accounts  state  that  the  restoration  took  place 
under  the  P^mperor  Michael  IV.,  the  Paphlagonian,  who  obtained 
the  privilege  of  Al  Mustansir  on  the  condition  of  setting  free  five 
thousand  Muslim  captives. 

In  the  year  1047,  Jerusalem  was  visited  by  the  Persian  pilgrim 
Nasir-i-Khusrau,  who  has  left  the  following  description  of  the 
great  church  as  it  stood  before  the  alterations  effected  by  the 
Crusaders.  Nasir  writes  : 

"In  the   Holy   City  (of  Jerusalem),  the  Christians  possess  a 


church  which  they  call  Bai'at-al-Kumamah  (which  is  the  Church 
of  the  Resurrection),  and  they  hold  it  in  high  veneration.  Every 
year  great  multitudes  of  people  from  Rum  (the  Greek  Empire) 
come  hither  to  perform  their  visitation  ;  and  the  Emperor  of 
Byzantium  himself  even  comes  here,  but  privily,  so  that  no  one 
should  recognise  him.  In  the  days  when  (the  Fatimite  Khalif) 
Al  Hakim-bi-amr-Illah  was  ruler  of  Egypt,  the  Greek  Caesar  had 
come  after  this  manner  to  Jerusalem.  Al  Hakim,  having  news  of 
it,  sent  for  one  of  his  cup-bearers,  and  said  to  him,  '  There  is  a 
man  of  so  and  such  a  countenance  and  condition  whom  thou 
wilt  find  seated  in  the  Mosque  (Jami')  of  the  Holy  City  ;  go  thou, 
therefore,  and  approach  him,  and  say  that  Hakim  hath  sent  thee 
to  him,  lest  he  should  think  that  I,  Hakim,  knew  not  of  his 
coming ;  but  let  him  be  of  good  cheer,  for  I  have  no  evil  intention 
against  him.'  Hakim  at  one  time  ordered  the  Church  (of  the 
Resurrection)  to  be  given  over  to  plunder,  which  was  so  done, 
and  it  was  laid  in  ruins.  Some  time  it  remained  thus  ;  but  after- 
wards the  Caesar  of  Byzantium  sent  ambassadors  with  presents 
and  promises  of  service,  and  concluded  a  treaty  in  which  he 
stipulated  for  permission  to  defray  the  expenses  of  rebuilding  the 
church,  and  this  was  ultimately  accomplished. 

"  At  the  present  day  the  church  is  a  most  spacious  building,  and 
is  capable  of  containing  eight  thousand  persons.  The  edifice  is 
built,  with  the  utmost  skill,  of  coloured  marbles,  with  ornamenta- 
tion and  sculptures.  Inside,  the  church  is  everywhere  adorned 
with  Byzantine  brocade,  worked  in  gold  with  pictures.  And  they 
have  portrayed  Jesus — peace  be  upon  Him  ! — who  at  times  is 
shown  riding  upon  an  ass.  There  are  also  pictures  representing 
others  of  the  Prophets,  as,  for  instance,  Abraham,  and  Ishmael, 
and  Isaac,  and  Jacob  with  his  sons — peace  be  upon  them  all  ! 
These  pictures  they  have  overlaid  with  a  varnish  of  the  oil  of 
Sandaracha  (Sandariis,  or  red  juniper) ;  and  for  the  face  of 
each  portrait  they  have  made  a  plate  of  thin  glass,  which  is  set 
thereon,  and  is  perfectly  transparent.  This  dispenses  with  the 
need  of  a  curtain,  and  prevents  any  dust  or  dirt  from  settling 
on  the  painting,  for  the  glass  is  cleaned  daily  by  the  servants 
(of  the  church).  Besides  this  (Church  of  the  Resurrection) 


there  are  many  others  (in  Jerusalem),  all  very  skilfully  built ;  but 
to  describe  them  all  would  lead  into  too  great  length.  In  the  Church 
(of  the  Resurrection)  there  is  a  picture  divided  into  two  parts, 
representing  Heaven  and  Hell.  One  part  shows  the  people 
of  paradise  in  Paradise,  while  the  other  shows  the  people  of  hell 
in  Hell,  with  all  that  therein  is  ;  and  assuredly  there  is  nowhere 
else  in  the  world  a  picture  such  as  this.  There  are  seated  in  this 
church  great  numbers  of  priests  and  monks,  who  read  the  Evangel 
and  say  prayers,  for  both  by  day  and  by  night  they  are  occupied 
after  this  manner."  (N.  Kh.,  59-61.) 

In  1099  the  Crusaders  gained  possession  of  Jerusalem,  and 
deeming  the  old  Church  of  the  Resurrection  to  be  too  insignifi- 
cant a  building  for  the  great  purpose  of  the  Shrine  of  Crrist's 
Tomb,  they  enlarged  the  edifice  by  adding  a  nave  and  aisles 
to  the  then  existing  rotunda.  These  additions  were  apparently 
completed  in  the  first  half  of  the  twelfth  century.  In  1154 
Idrisi,  quoting,  doubtless,  from  the  accounts  brought  home  to 
Sicily  by  Christian  pilgrims,  wrote  the  following  description  of  the 
church  as  it  then  existed  : 

"  When  you  enter  (Jerusalem)  by  the  Jaffa  Gate,  called  Bab  al 
Mihrab,  which,  as  aforesaid,  is  the  western  gate,  you  go  eastwards 
through  a  street  that  leads  to  the  great  church  known  as  the 
Kanisah  al  Kayamah  (the  Church  of  the  Resurrection),  which 
the  Muslims  call  Kumamah  (the  Dunghill).  This  is  a  church  to 
which  pilgrimage  is  made  from  all  parts  of  the  Greek  Empire, 
both  from  the  eastern  lands  and  the  western.  You  enter  (the 
church)  by  a  gate  at  the  west  end,  and  the  interior  thereof 
occupies  the  centre  space  under  a  dome,  which  covers  the  whole  of 
the  church.  This  is  one  of  the  wonders  of  the  world.  The  church 
itself  lies  lower  than  this  gate,  and  you  cannot  descend  thereto 
from  this  side.  Another  gate  opens  on  the  north  side,  and 
through  this  you  may  descend  to  the  lower  part  of  the  church  by 
thirty  steps.  This  gate  is  called  Bab  Santa  Maria. 

"  When  you  have  descended  ir  to  the  interior  of  the  church  you 
come  on  the  most  venerated  Holy  Sepulchre.  It  has  two  gates, 
and  above  it  is  a  vaulted  dome  of  very  solid  construction,  beauti- 
fully built,  and  splendidly  ornamented.  Of  these  two  gates,  one 


is  towards  the  north,  facing  the  Gate  Santa  Maria,  and  the  other  is 
toward  the  south,  facing  which  is  the  Bab  as  Salubiyyah  (the  Gate 
of  the  Crucifixion).  Above  this  last  gate  is  the  bell-tower  of  the 
church.  Over  against  this,  on  the  east,  is  a  great  and  venerable 
church,  where  the  Franks  of  Rum  (which  is  the  Greek  Empire) 
have  their  worship  and  services.  To  the  east  (again)  of  this 
blessed  church,  but  bearing  somewhat  to  the  south,  is  the  prison 
in  which  the  Lord  Messiah  was  incarcerated :  also  the  place  of  the 
Crucifixion.  Now,  as  to  the  great  dome  (over  the  Church  of  the 
Resurrection),  it  is  of  a  vast  size,  and  open  to  the  sky.  Inside  the 
dome,  and  all  round  it,  are  painted  pictures  of  the  Prophets,  and 
of  the  Lord  Messiah,  and  of  the  Lady  Maryam,  his  Mother,  and 
of  John  the  Baptist.  Over  the  Holy  Sepulchre  lamps  are 
suspended,  and  above  the  Place  (of  the  Grave)  in  particular 
are  three  lamps  of  gold."  (Id.,  6.) 

The  mention  of  the  bell-tower,  called  in  the  Arabic  Kanbindr 
(Campanarium),  would  go  to  prove  the  tower  of  the  Church  of 
the  Resurrection  to  be  older  than  M.  de  Vogue  supposes,  judging 
it  on  architectural  grounds  only,  in  his  E&lises  de  la  Terre  Sciinte 
(p.  207).  The  great  south  portal  of  the  church,  the  only  one 
at  present  in  use,  and  immediately  to  the  north  of  which  stands 
the  bell -tower,  is  the  one  doubtless  here  called  the  Gate  of  the 
Crucifixion.  It  is  noteworthy  that  in  Idrisi's  days  the  church  had 
three  entrances,  the  above-mentioned  gate  to  the  south  ;  one 
opposite,  opening  north  (the  Gate  of  Santa  Maria) ;  and,  lastly, 
the  West  Gate,  from  which  you  could  not  descend  into  the  body 
of  the  edifice.  The  two  latter  gates  no  longer  exist.  The 
"  Church  of  the  Greeks  "  must  be  the  present  Catholicon,  lying 
immediately  east  of  the  Rotunda  of  the  Sepulchre,  and  to  the 
present  day  belonging  to  the  Greek  community.  It  forms  the 
western  half  of  the  Church  of  the  Crusaders. 

Some  years  later  than  Idrisi,  'Ali  of  Herat,  in  1173,  wrote  a 
description  of  the  Holy  Places  of  Palestine,  from  the  purely 
Muslim  point  of  view.  Of  the  Church  of  the  Resurrection  he  gives 
the  following  short  notice,  written  a  few  years  before  Saladin's 
recovery  of  the  Holy  City  : 

"  The  Church  of  the  Kumamah  is  one  of  the  most  wonderful 


buildings  of  the  world.  In  it  is  the  tomb  which  the  Christians 
call  Al  Kayamah  (Anastasis),  and  this  because  they  believe  that 
the  Resurrection  of  the  Messiah  took  place  here.  But  the  truth  is 
that  the  place  is  called  Al  Kumamah  (the  Dunghill)  because  it  was 
of  old  a  dung-heap,  and  lay  outside  the  city,  being  the  place 
where  they  cut  off  the  hands  of  malefactors  and  crucified  thieves, 
as,  too,  is  mentioned  in  the  Evangel — but  Allah  alone  knows  the 
truth.  The  Christians  have  in  this  place  the  rock  which  they  say 
was  split,  and  from  beneath  which  Adam  rose  up— because  it 
stood  under  the  place  of  the  Crucifixion,  as  they  relate.*  They 
have  also  here  the  Garden  of  Joseph,  surnamed  As  Siddik  (the 
Truthful),  which  is  much  visited  by  pilgrims.  In  this  church 
takes  place  the  descent  of  the  (Holy)  Fire.  Now,  verily,  I  myself 
did  sojourn  at  Jerusalem  for  some  season  during  the  days  of  the 
Franks,  in  order  to  understand  their  ways  and  the  manner  of  the 
sciences."  (A.  H.,  Oxf.  MS.,  f.  41,  recto  and  verso.) 

In  1187  Saladin  expelled  the  Crusaders  from  the  Holy  City,  and, 
according  to  some  accounts,  pillaged  and  did  considerable  damage 
to  the  Church  of  the  Resurrection.  In  1192  the  knights  of  the 
Third  Crusade  were  allowed  by  Saladin  to  visit  the  Holy  Sepulchre, 
and  the  Bishop  of  Salisbury  obtained  permission  for  two  Latin 
monks  to  remain  there  and  conduct  the  services  of  the  church. 
The  account  which  Yakut,  writing  in  1225,  gives  of  the  church 
proves  that  in  his  day  the  building  had  recovered  from  the 
reported  pillage  at  the  date  of  Saladin's  conquest.  Yakut,  as  will 
be  seen,  repeats  the  account  given  by  'AH  of  Herat ;  he,  however, 
adds  some  remarks  of  his  own,  and  gives  a  curious  notice  of  the 
Miracle  of  the  Holy  Fire  : 

"The  Kumamah  is  the  great  church  of  the  Christians  at 
Jerusalem.  It  is  beyond  description  for  beauty,  and  for  its  great 
riches  and  wonderful  architecture.  It  stands  in  the  middle  of  the 
city,  and  a  wall  surrounds  it.  There  is  here  the  tomb  which  the 
Christians  call  Al  Kayamah  (the  Anastasis),  because  of  their 
belief  that  the  Resurrection  of  the  Messiah  took  place  here.  In 

*  This  is  the  well-known  mediaeval  legend.  See  Palestine  Pilgrims'  Text, 
Abbot  Daniel,  p.  14.  The  rent  in  the  rock  is  still  shown.  According  to  tradi- 
tion, Adam  was  buried  below  the  rock  on  which  the  Crucifixion  afterwards 
took  place. 


point  of  fact,  however,  the  name  is  Kumamah,  not  Kayamah,  for 
the  place  was  the  Dunghill  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  city,  and 
stood  anciently  without  the  town,  being  the  place  where  they  cut 
off  malefactors'  hands,  and  where  they  crucified  thieves.  But 
after  the  Messiah  had  been  crucified  on  this  spot,  it  came  to 
be  venerated  as  you  now  see.  This  is  all  related  in  the  Evangel. 
There  is  here  a  rock  which  they  say  was  split  and  Adam  rose  from 
it,  for  the  Crucifixion  took  place  on  the  summit  of  the  same. 
The  Christians  have  also  in  this  spot  the  Garden  of  Joseph,  the 
Truthful — peace  be  upon  him  ! — and  visitation  is  made  thereto. 
In  one  part  (of  the  church)  is  a  lamp,  on  which  they  say  fire 
descends  from  heaven  on  a  certain  day  and  kindles  the  wick. 

"Now,  on  this  matter  a  certain  person  who  was  in  the  public 
service — and  he  was  a  man  of  the  companions  of  the  Sultan,  to 
whom  it  was  not  possible  for  the  Christians  to  refuse  admittance, 
and  he  had  stayed  in  the  church  to  see  how  the  affair  was  accom- 
plished— related  to  me  the  following  as  of  his  experience:  On 
one  occasion,  said  he,  the  descent  of  the  fire  was  delayed  by 
the  priest,  in  whose  charge  it  was  to  see  to  it,  and  he  turned  to 
me  and  said :  '  Verily  thy  attending  on  us  is  a  matter  against  the 
precept  of  our  law.'  I  inquired  of  him  wherefore.  Said  he : 
'  Because  we  appear  before  our  companions  as  doing  a  thing  that 
should  be  kept  hid  from  one  like  thee.  It  were  therefore  to  be 
desired  that  thou  shouldst  leave  us  and  go  out.'  Said  I  to  him  : 
'  Of  necessity  will  I  now  see  what  thou  art  about  to  do ;  for  behold, 
I  have  found  in  a  book  of  magic  what  is  written  therein,  how  ye 
bring  a  candle  near,  and  then  on  a  sudden  hang  it  up  in  this  place, 
which  the  people  neither  seeing  nor  knowing,  it  is  considered  by 
them  a  miraculous  act,  and  one  deserving  of  all  belief.'  Here 
ends  the  account."  (Yak.,  iv.  173-174.) 


It  will  be  convenient  at  this  place  to  insert  such  short  notices  as 
are  found  in  the  early  Muslim  writers  of  the  other  Christian 
shrines  which  they  describe  in  Jerusalem. 

The  Garden  of  Gethsemane,  called  Al  Jismaniyyah  in  Arabic 
(see  above,  p.  203),  is  mentioned  by  Mas'udi  as  early  as  the  year  943. 



Writing  in  1154,  Idrisi  has  the  following  account  of  the  same 
spot:  "Leaving  the  (Aksa)  Mosque  (and  crossing  the  Haram 
Area)  you  come,  on  the  eastern  side,  to  the  Bab  ar  Rahmah  (the 
Gate  of  Mercy,  the  Golden  Gate),  which  is  now  closed,  as  we  have 
said  before  ;  but  near  to  this  gate  is  another,  which  is  open.  It  is 
called  Bab  al  Asbat  (the  Gate  of  the  Tribes),  and  through  it  there 
is  much  coming  and  going.  When  you  have  passed  out  by  the 
Gate  of  the  Tribes,  you  reach  the  limits  of  the  archery-ground, 
and  find  there  a  large  and  very  beautiful  church,  dedicated  to  the 
Lady  Mary,  and  the  place  is  known  as  Al  Jismaniyyah.  At  this 
place  also  is  her  tomb,  on  the  skirt  of  the  Mount  of  Olives  (Jabal 
az  Zaitun).  Between  it  and  the  Gate  of  the  Tribes  is  the  space  of 
about  a  mile."  (Id.,  8.) 

The  next  mention  that  occurs  of  the  Tomb  of  the  Virgin  is  that 
given  by  'AH  of  Herat.  His  work  was  written  in  1173,  while  the 
Crusaders  still  had  possession  of  Jerusalem  ;  but  the  paragraph  on 
the  Tomb  of  the  Virgin  would  appear  to  have  been  altered  at  a 
subsequent  date,  for  it  describes  the  building  as  it  was  transformed 
after  Saladin's  rejbonquest  of  the  Holy  City  in  1187.  'Ali  of 
Herat  writes  :  "  T7he  Tomb  of  Maryam  is  in  the  Wadi  Jahannum. 
You  descend  (to  the  tomb)  by  six-and-thirty  steps.  There  are 
here  columns  of  granite  and  marble.  The  dome  is  supported  by 
sixteen  columns,  eight  being  red,  and  eight  green.  The  building 
has  four  gates,  and  at  each  gate  are  six  columns  of  marble  or 
granite.  It  was  originally  a  church,  but  is  now  a  Mashhad,  or 
oratory,  dedicated  to  Abraham  the  Friend — peace  be  on  him  ! 
There  are  here  wonderful  remains  of  columns  and  other  archi- 
tectural fragments."  (A.  H.,  Oxf.  MS.,  f.  40.) 

Ibn  Batutah,  who  visited  Jerusalem  in  1355,  speaks  in  the 
following  terms  of  the  Tomb  of  the  Virgin,  and  of  some  other 
Christian  shrines  in  Jerusalem  :  "  At  the  bottom  of  the  said  Valley 
of  Jahannum  is  a  church  which  the  Christians  venerate,  for  here, 
they  say,  is  the  Tomb  of  Maryam — peace  be  on  her !  In  Jeru- 
salem also  is  another  church  (namely,  that  of  the  Resurrection),  to 
which  the  Christians  make  pilgrimage,  and  about  which  they  tell 
many  lies,  asserting  that  the  Tomb  of  Jesus — peace  be  on  Him  ! — 
is  therein.  Now,  on  every  pilgrim  who  makes  his  visitation  to  this 


church  a  certain  tribute  is  levied  for  the  benefit  of  the  Muslims, 
and  the  Christians  have  to  bear  humiliations,  which  they  undergo 
with  much  revolting  of  the  heart.  In  Jerusalem  also  is  the  place 
of  the  Cradle  of  Jesus — peace  be  on  Him  ! — where  Christians 
come  to  seek  a  blessing."  (I.  B.,  i.  124.) 

The  Church  of  Pater  Noster  and  Bethany  are  spoken  of  by 
Idrisi  in  1154.  He  writes:  "On  the  road  ascending  the  Mount 
of  Olives  is  a  magnificent  church,  beautifully  and  solidly  built, 
which  is  called  the  Church  of  Pater  Noster;  and  on  the  summit 
of  the  mount  is  another  church,  beautiful  and  grand  likewise,  in 
which  men  and  women  incarcerate  themselves,  seeking  thereby  to 
obtain  favour  with  Allah — be  He  exalted  !  In  this  aforementioned 
mount,  on  the  eastern  part,  and  bearing  rather  to  the  south,  is  the 
Tomb  of  Al  'Azar  (Lazarus),  whom  the  Lord  Messiah  raised  again 
to  life.  Two  miles  distant  from  the  Mount  of  Olives  stands  the 
village  from  which  they  brought  the  she-ass,  on  which  the  Lord 
Messiah  rode  on  His  entry  into  Jerusalem,  but  the  place  is  now 
in  ruins,  and  no  one  lives  there."  (Id.,  8.) 

The  Church  of  the  Ascension  (on  the  Mount  of  Olives)  is 
referred  to  by  'Ali  of  Herat  in  1 173  as  "  the  Church  of  Salik,  which 
is  the  one  from  which  the  Messiah  is  said  to  have  ascended  into 
heaven."  (A.H.,  Oxf.  MS.,  f.  40.)  Ibn  Batutah  doubtless  alludes 
to  the  same  building  in  the  Diary  of  his  visit  to  Jerusalem  in  1355, 
where  he  writes :  "  Beside  the  Wadi,  called  Wadi  Jahannum,  and 
to  the  east  of  the  city  on  a  hill  that  rises  to  a  certain  height  (known 
as  the  Mount  of  Olives),  there  is  a  building  whence  they  say  Jesus 
— peace  be  on  Him  ! — ascended  into  heaven."  (I.  B.,  i.  124.) 

'Ali  of  Herat,  in  1173,  mentions  another  church,  which  it  is 
difficult  at  the  present  day  to  identify.  He  writes  :  "At  Jerusalem 
is  the  Church  of  the  Jacobites,*  in  which  is  the  well  where  they 
say  the  Messiah  washed,  and  where  the  Samaritan  woman  received 
belief  at  His  hands.  The  place  is  much  visited,  and  is  held 
in  great  veneration.  At  Jerusalem  also  is  the  Tower  (Burj^ 
of  David  and  his  Mihrab,  as  is  mentioned  in  the  Kuran 
(xxxviii.  20)." 

*  In  the  Oxford  MS.,  folio  39,  v.,  the  name  is  written  '  Kanisah  at  YughAkiy- 
yah,  a  mistake  (by  the  alteration  of  the  diacritical  points)  for  Al  Yugh&biyyak, 
which  is  the  reading  found  in  M.  Shefer's  MS. 



Of  the  Church  of  Sion  and  the  adjacent  shrines,  Idrisi  reports 
as  follows  : 

"  Now,  as  to  what  lies  adjacent  to  the  Holy  City  on  the 
southern  quarter,  \vhen  you  go  out  by  the  Bab  Sihyun  (the  Gate 
of  Sion),  you  pass  a  distance  of  a  stone's  throw,  and  come  to  the 
Church  of  Sion,  which  is  a  beautiful  church,  and  fortified.  In  it 
is  the  guest-chamber  wherein  the  Lord  Messiah  ate  with  the 
disciples,  and  the  table  is  there  remaining  even  unto  the  present 
day.  The  people  assemble  here  (for  the  Festival  of  Maundy-) 
Thursday.  And  from  the  Gate  of  Sion  you  descend  into  a  ravine 
called  Wadi  Jahannum  (the  Valley  of  Gehenna).  On  the  edge  of 
this  ravine  is  a  church  called  after  the  name  of  Peter,  and  down 
in  the  ravine  is  the  'Ain  Sulwan  (Spring  of  Siloam),  which  is  the 
spring  where  the  Lord  Messiah  cured  the  infirmity  of  the  blind 
man,  who  before  that  had  no  eyes.  Going  south  from  this  said 
spring  is  the  field  (Hakl,  Aceldama  ?)  wherein  strangers  are  buried, 
and  it  is  a  piece  of  ground  which  the  Lord  bought  for  this  pur- 
pose ;  and  near  by  to  it  are  many  habitations  cut  out  in  the  rock 
wherein  men  incarcerate  themselves  for  the  purposes  of  devotion." 
(Id.,  9.) 

The  table  in  the  Church  of  Sion  is  mentioned  also  by  'Ali  of 
Herat  in  1173,  who  notices  the  tradition  that  it  came  down  from 
heaven  to  Christ  and  His  disciples.  (A.  H.,  Oxf.  MS.,  f.  40.) 
Yakut  (1225)  also  alludes  incidentally  to  the  Church  of  Sion. 
(Yak,  iii.  438.) 


The  gates  in  the  walls  of  Jerusalem,  though  mentioned  singly 
and  incidentally  by  many  geographers,  are  only  fully  enumerated 
by  two  Arab  authors — namely,  Mukaddasi  in  985,  and  Mujir  ad 
Din  in  1496.  Between  these  two  dates  the  Holy  City  was 
in  turn  besieged  by  the  Crusaders  and  by  Saladin,  and  the  walls 
were  several  times  dismantled  and  rebuilt.  It  is  not,  therefore, 
astonishing  to  find  that  Mukaddasi's  gates  do  not  all  bear  the 
same  names  as  those  found  in  Mujir  ad  Din,  which  last  are  those 
still  open  and  used  at  the  present  day.  Mukaddasi  writes  as 
follows  : 


"Jerusalem  is  smaller  than  Makkah,  and  larger  than  Al 
Madinah.  Over  the  city  is  a  castle,  one  side  of  which  is  against 
the  hillside,  while  the  other  is  defended  by  a  ditch.  Jerusalem 
has  eight  iron  gates  : 

"  (i)  Bab  Sihyun  (Gate  of  Sion). 

"  (a)  Bab  at  Tih  (Gate  of  the  Desert  of  the  Wanderings). 

"  (3)  Bab  al  Balat  (Gate  of  the  Palace,  or  Court). 

"  (4)  Bab  Jubb  Armiya  (Gate  of  Jeremiah's  Pit). 

"  (5)  Bab  Silwan  (Gate  of  Siloam). 

"  (6)  Bab  Ariha  (Gate  of  Jericho). 

"  (7)  Bab  al  'Amud  (Gate  of  the  Columns). 

"  (8)  Bab  Mihrab  Daud  (Gate  of  David's  Oratory)."  (Muk.,  167.) 

It  is  evident,  from  such  of  the  gates  as  still  bear  the  same  names 
as  they  did  in  985,  that  Mukaddasi  follows  no  order,  but  that  the 
names  as  they  at  present  stand  in  the  MSS.  are  set  down  almost 
entirely  at  haphazard.  To  begin,  however,  with  those  about 
which  there  can  be  little  dispute.* 

The  Gate  of  David's  Mihrab  (8)  is  that  generally  known  as  the 
Jaffa  or  Hebron  Gate,  called  at  the  present  day  Bab  al  Khalil. 
Immediately  above  it  is  the  castle  mentioned  by  Mukaddasi,  which 
still  exists,  and  in  which  is  the  Mihrab  which  gave  this  gate  its 
name.  David's  Mihrab  is  also  shown  in  the  Haram  Area.  (See 
p.  1 68.)  The  oratory  in  the  castle,  however,  is  the  one  referred 
to  by  Istakhri  and  Ibn  Haukal  in  the  following  description  : 

"  In  the  city  is  the  Mihrab  of  the  prophet  David,  a  tall  edifice 
built  of  stone,  which,  by  measurement  and  calculation,  I  should 
say  reached  a  height  of  50  ells,  and  was  30  ells  in  the  breadth. 
On  its  summit  is  a  building  like  a  cell,  which  is  the  Mihrab  men- 
tioned by  Allah — may  He  be  exalted  ! — (in  the  words  of  the 
Kuran :  '  Hath  the  story  of  the  two  pleaders  reached  thee,  when 
they  mounted  the  walls  of  David's  Mihrab  ?')  When  you  come 
up  to  the  Holy  City  from  Ar  Ramlah  this  is  the  first  building  that 
catches  the  eye,  and  you  see  it  above  the  other  houses  of  the 
town.  In  the  Noble  Sanctuary,  too,  are  many  other  venerated 
Mihrabs  dedicated  to  other  of  the  celebrated  prophets."  (Is., 
56;  I.  H.,  in.) 

*  See  the  plan  of  Jerusalem  facing  p.  83. 


The  Sion  Gate  (i)  is  the  next  south  of  the  Hebron  Gate,  and 
is  now  known  as  Bab  an  Nabi  Daud  (the  Gate  of  the  Prophet 
David).  The  Gate  of  Jericho  (6)  is  that  which  the  Christians, 
for  the  last  five  centuries,  have  called  St.  Stephen's  Gate.  The 
Gate  of  Jeremiah's  Pit  (4)  can,  from  the  position  of  the  grotto  (or 
pit),  only  be  the  small  gate  to  the  north,  called  at  the  present  day 
Bab  as  Sahirah,  and  in  old  days  known  as  Herod's  Gate.  The 
Gate  of  the  Columns  (7)  is  that  more  generally  known  as  the 
Damascus  Gate,  though  it  still  bears  the  older  name.  In  the 
times  of  the  Crusaders  this  was  what  was  known  as  St.  Stephen's 
Gate,  a  name  in  later  times  transferred  to  the  Jericho  Gate. 

The  remaining  of  Mukaddasi's  gates  can  only  be  approximately 
identified.  The  Gate  of  the  Desert  of  the  Wanderings  (2)  is 
probably  the  "Secret  Gate"  mentioned  by  Mujir  ad  Din  as 
opening  near  the  Armenian  Convent  between  the  Hebron  and 
Sion  Gates.  The  Siloam  Gate  (5)  can  hardly,  from  its  name,  be 
other  than  the  southern  gate,  called  the  Bab  al  Magharibah  (Gate 
of  the  Mogrebins,  or  Western  Africans),  which  the  Franks  have 
named  the  Dung  Gate.  Bab  al  Balat  (the  Gate  of  the  Palace,  or 
Court)  (3)  is,  most  probably,  identical  with  Mujir  ad  Din's  Bab  ar 
Rahbah  (the  Gate  of  the  Public  Square),  opening  west  in  the  city 
wall,  and  north  of  the  Hebron  Gate.  In  the  Citez  de  Jherusalem, 
written  about  the  year  1225,  the  gate  which  opened  here  is  named 
the  St.  Lazarus  Postern.  Since  Mujir  ad  Din's  days  it  has  been 
built  up. 

Idrisi,  writing  in  1154,  notes  the  following  city  gates  : 

"  Bab  al  Mihrab  (Jaffa  Gate)  is  on  the  western  side ;  and  this 
is  the  gate  over  which  is  the  Cupola  of  David  (Kubbat  Daud)— 
peace  be  upon  him  !  Bab  ar  Rahmah  (the  Golden  Gate)  is  on 
the  eastern  side  of  the^city.  It  is  closed,  and  is  only  opened  at 
the  Feast  of  Olive-branches  (Palm  Sunday).  Bab  Sihyun  (the 
Sion  Gate)  is  on  the  south  of  the  city.  Bab  'Amud  al  Ghurab 
(the  Gate  of  the  Crow's  Pillar — the  Damascus  Gate)  lies  to  the 
north  of  the  city."  (Id.,  5.) 

The  Damascus  Gate  was  called  "  of  the  Pillar  "  on  account  of 
certain  ancient  columns  that  had  been  built  into  it ;  but  what  the 
"  Crow  "  may  refer  to  is  not  known.  Idrisi  is  the  only  author  to 


mention  this  name.  It  will  be  noted  that  the  Golden  Gate,  Bab 
ar  Rahmah  (Gate  of  Mercy),  is  here  mentioned  as  a  city  gate. 
During  the  time  of  the  Crusaders  there  was  apparently  a  right-of- 
way  across  the  Haram  Area  from  the  Porta  Speciosa  (Bab  Daud, 
or  Bab  as  Silsilah)  in  the  west  wall  of  the  Noble  Sanctuary  to  the 
Golden  Gate  on  the  east.  In  Muslim  times  this  was  never 

Writing  in  1496,  Mujir  ad  Din  enumerates  the  following  city 
gates,  ten  in  number  : 

"On  the  south  side  are  two  gates:  (i)  Bab  Harah  al 
Magharibah,"  the  Gate  of  the  Mogribins'  Quarter — the  Prankish 
Dung  Gate.  "(2)  Bab  Sihyun  (of  Sion),  now  known  as  the  Bab 
Harah  al  Yahiid — that  is,  of  the  Jews'  Quarter."  The  Jews' 
Quarter  in  Crusading  times  was  in  the  north-east  part  of  the  city. 
From  Saladin's  time  down  to  the  present  day  it  has  been  in  the 
quarter  mentioned  by  Mujir  ad  Din — to  the  south. 

"  On  the  west  side  are  three  gates  :  (3)  The  small  Secret  Gate 
near  the  Armenian  Convent."  This  is  probably  identical  with 
Mukaddasi's  Gate  of  the  Desert  of  the  Wanderings.  It  is  at 
present  walled  up.  "  (4)  Bab  al  Mihrab,  now  called  Bab  al 
Khalil,"  the  Gate  of  the  Friend ;  i.e.,  Abraham — the  Hebron  or 
Jaffa  Gate.  "(5)  Bab  ar  Rahbah,"  the  Gate  of  the  Public  Square; 
probably  that  mentioned  by  Mukaddasi  as  the  Bab  al  Balat,  and 
identical  with  the  St.  Lazarus  Postern.  It  is  now  closed. 

"On  the  north  side  are  four  gates  :  (6)  Bab  Dair  as  Sarb,"  the 
Gate  of  the  Servian  Convent.  The  exact  position  of  this  is  un- 
known, but  it  must  have  stood  between  the  Rahbah  Gate  and  the 
Damascus  Gate.  Mujir  ad  Din,  speaking  of  the  street  called 
Khatt  ad  Dargah,  writes :  "  It  has  in  it  Saladin's  Bimaristan  (or 
hospital),  and  the  Church  of  the  Kumamah  (of  the  Resurrection). 
On  its  west  side  is  the  Quarter  of  the  Christians,  which  extends 
from  south  to  north,  from  the  Bab  al  Khalil  to  the  Bab  as  Sarb, 
and  includes  the  Harah  ar  Rahbah,  the  Quarter  of  the  Square." 

"(7)  Bab  al  'Amud,"  Gate  of  the  Columns,  the  Damascus 
Gate,  anciently  the  St.  Stephen's  Gate.  "(8)  Bab  ad  Da'iyah 
(Gate  of  the  Conduit  ?),  by  which  you  enter  the  Quarter  of  the 
Bani  Zaid."  This  gate  is  no  longer  open,  nor  is  its  exact  position 


known,  but  it  must  have  stood  somewhat  to  the  west  of  the  so- 
called  Herod's  Gate.  "(9)  Bab  as  Sahirah,"  the  Gate  of  the 
Plain— Herod's  Gate.* 

"  On  the  east  one  gate  :  (10)  Bab  al  Asbat,"  Gate  of  the  Tribes 
—the  present  St.  Stephen's  or  Jericho  Gate. 

Mujir  ad  Din  adds  :  "  Besides  these  ten  gates,  there  was 
anciently  a  gate  near  the  Zawiyah  (or  Shrine),  called  after  Ibn  ash 
Shaikh  'Abd  'Allah,  over  against  the  citadel  (Kala'ah).  And  again 
a  gate  in  the  quarter  called  Harah  at  Turiyyah,  which  led  to 
the  Maidan  of  the  Slaves  (Mai din  al  'Abid),  outside  the  Bab  al 
Asbat.  This  gate  is  now  closed."  (M.  a.  D.,  406.)  Mujir  ad  Din 
tells  us  "  that  the  Harah  at  Turiyyah  (the  quarter  of  the  inhabitants 
of  Tur,  or  Sinai)  went  from  the  Gate  of  the  Tribes  (Bab  al 
Asbat)  up  to  the  north  wall  of  the  city;"  that  is,  it  occupied  all  the 
north-east  quarter  of  the  city.  But  there  is  no  such  gate  as  that 
mentioned,  open  at  the  present  day  in  the  walls  here. 

The  table  on  the  next  page  shows  the  names  of  the  City  Gates 
at  various  epochs,  beginning  at  the  Jaffa  Gate  and  going  north- 
ward, and  so  round  the  walls  back  to  the  point  of  departure  : 

*  No  native  authority  (as  far  as  I  am  aware)  exists  for  spelling  the  name 
of  this  gate,  B&b  ez  Za/iary,  "  The  Flowery  Gate,"  as  Robinson  (Researches, 
2nd  edit.,  i.  262),  and  many  after  him,  have  done.  Neither  is  the  name 
ever  written  Bab  ez  Zahriye,  "  Gate  of  Splendour,"  as  has  been  set  down  in 
some  of  the  Memoirs  of  the  Palestine  Exploration  Fund.  However  the 
present  inhabitants  of  Jerusalem  may  spell  and  pronounce  the  name  of  this 
small  gate,  which  the  Franks  call  "  Herod's  Gate,"  in  old  times  it  always  was 
written  As  Sahirah,  that  is,  "  of  the  Plain,"  scilicet,  "  of  the  Assembly  of  the 
Judgment  Day,"  which  stretches  bryond  the  city  wall  north-east  from  this 
Gate.  See  p.  218. 










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The  valley  called  by  the  Jews  Ge-Ben-Hinnon — that  is,  of 
Gehenna — was  the  deep  gorge  to  the  west  and  south-west  of 
Jerusalem ;  the  Muslims,  however,  in  adopting  the  Jewish  name, 
chose  the  gorge  bounding  the  Holy  City  on  the  east  as  the  valley 
which  they  called  Wadi  Jahannum.  This,  in  earlier  days,  had  been 
known  as  the  Valley  of  the  Kedron,  or  of  Jehoshaphat.  In  the 
Prophet  Joel  (iii.  2)  the  verse  occurs:  "I  will  also  gather  all 
nations,  and  will  bring  them  down  into  the  Valley  of  Jehoshaphat, 
and  will  plead  with  them  there  for  My  people,  and  for  My  heritage 
Israel."  This  had  led  the  Jews  to  make  the  Valley  of  Jehoshaphat 
the  scene  of  the  Last  Judgment,  and  the  Muslims,  in  adopting  the 
Hebrew  tradition,  and  transferring  it  to  their  Wadi  Jahannum,  had 
considerably  amplified  the  story.  According  to  these  last,  the 
Bridge  As  Sirat,  dividing  heaven  and  hell,  is  to  stretch  across 
this  valley  from  the  hill  of  the  Haram  Area  to  the  Mount  of 
Olives,  while  the  Plain  (As  Sahirah),  on  the  northern  part  of  the 
mount,  is  to  be  the  gathering-place  of  all  mankind  on  the  Last 
Day.  The  name  of  As  Sahirah  appears  in  later  times  to  have  been 
extended  also  to  the  plain  on  the  city  side,  or  west  of  the  Kedron 
Valley,  and  therefore  immediately  to  the  north  of  Jerusalem,  and 
from  it  one  of  the  city  gates,  Bab  as  Sahirah,  took  its  name, 
presumably  at  a  period  subsequent  to  Saladin's  reconquest  of  the 
Holy  City.  Describing  all  these  localities  in  985,  Mukaddasi 
writes  as  follows  : 

"Jabal  Zaita  (the  Mount  of  Olives)  overlooks  the  Great 
Mosque  from  the  eastern  side  of  the  Wadi  (Jahannum).  On 
its  summit  is  a  mosque  built  in  memory  of  'Omar,  who  sojourned 
here  some  days  when  he  came  to  receive  the  capitulation  of  the 
Holy  City.  There  is  also  a  church  built  on  the  spot  whence 
Christ  ascended  into  heaven ;  and  further,  near  by  is  the  place 
called  As  Sahirah  (the  Plain),  which,  as  I  have  been  informed  on 
the  authority  of  (the  traditionist)  Ibn  'Abbas,  will  be  the  scene  of 
the  resurrection.  The  ground  is  white,  and  blood  has  never  been 
spilt  here.  Now,  the  Wadi  Jahannum  runs  from  the  south-east  angle 


of  the  Harani  Area  to  the  furthest  (northern)  point  (of  the  city), 
and  along  the  east  side.  In  this  valley  there  are  gardens  and  vine- 
yards, churches,  caverns  and  cells  of  anchorites,  tombs,  and  other 
remarkable  spots,  also  cultivated  fields.  In  its  midst  stands  the 
church  which  covers  the  Sepulchre  of  Mary,  and  above,  overlook- 
ing the  valley,  are  many  tombs,  among  which  are  those  of  (the 
Companions  of  the  Prophet)  Shaddad  ibn  Aus  ibn  Thabit  and 
'Ubadah  ibn  as  Samit."  (Muk.,  171,  172.) 

Nasir-i-Khusrau,  who  visited  Jerusalem  in  1047,  is  the  first 
Muslim  writer  to  speak  of  the  curious  edifice  in  the  Kedron 
Valley,  generally  known  as  the  Tomb  of  Absalom,  which  at 
the  present  day  the  Muslims  speak  of  as  Tanturah  Fira'un,  or 
Pharaoh's  Cap.  Nasir  writes  : 

"  The  Aksa  Mosque  lies  at  the  (south)  east  quarter  of  the  city, 
whereby  the  eastern  city  wall  forms  also  the  wall  of  the  Haram 
Area.  When  you  have  passed  out  of  the  Noble  Sanctuary,  there 
lies  before  you  a  great  level  plain,  called  the  Sahirah,  which, 
it  is  said,  will  be  the  place  of  the  resurrection,  where  all  mankind 
shall  be  gathered  together.  For  this  reason  men  from  all  parts  of 
the  world  come  hither,  and  make  their  sojourn  in  the  Holy  City 
till  death  overtakes  them,  in  order  that  when  the  day  fixed  by  God 
— be  He  praised  and  exalted  ! — shall  arrive,  they  may  thus  lie  in 
their  tombs  ready  and  present  at  the  appointed  place.  At  the 
border  of  this  Plain  (of  the  Sahirah)  there  is  a  great  cemetery, 
where  are  many  places  of  pious  renown,  whither  men  come  to 
pray  and  offer  up  petitions  in  their  need.  Lying  between  the 
mosque  and  this  plain  of  the  Sahirah  is  a  great  steep  valley, 
and  down  in  this  valley,  which  is  like  unto  a  fosse,  are  many 
edifices,  built  after  the  fashion  of  ancient  days.  I  saw  here 
a  dome  cut  out  in  the  stone,  and  it  is  set  upon  the  summit  of 
a  building.  Nothing  can  be  more  curious  than  it  is,  and  one  asks 
how  it  came  to  be  placed  in  its  present  position.  In  the  mouths 
of  the  common  people  it  goes  by  the  appellation  of  Pharaoh's 
House.  The  valley  of  which  we  are  speaking  is  the  Wadi 
Jahannum.  I  inquired  how  this  name  came  to  be  applied  to  the 
place,  and  they  told  me  that  in  the  times  of  the  Khalif  'Omar — 
may  Allah  receive  him  in  grace  ! — the  camp  (of  the  Muslims,  who 


had  come  up  to  besiege  Jerusalem)  was  pitched  here  on  the  plain 
called  the  Sahirah,  and  that  when  'Omar  looked  down  and  saw 
this  valley,  he  exclaimed  :  c  Verily  this  is  the  Valley  of  Jahannum.' 
The  common  people  state  that  when  you  stand  at  the  brink  of  the 
valley  you  may  hear  the  cries  of  those  in  hell,  which  come  up 
from  below.  I  myself  went  there  to  listen,  but  heard  nothing." 
(N.  Kh.,  24-26.) 

Yakut  (in  1225)  speaks  of  the  plain  called  As  Sahirah,  at 
Jerusalem,  as  the  scene  of  the  Resurrection  and  Last  Judgment, 
but  gives  no  identification  of  its  position.  (Yak.,  iii.  25  ; 
Mar.,  ii.  6.) 

Mujir  ad  Din,  in  1496,  is  the  first  to  apply  this  name  to  the 
plain  immediately  to  the  north  of  Jerusalem  and  ic-est  of  the 
Kedron  Valley;  he,  too,  is  the  first  to  speak  of  the  Bab  as 
Sahirah,  in  the  city  wall  of  the  northern  quarter.  He  writes  of 
the  plain  : 

"As  Sahirah  (of  old)  was  the  plain  which  lies  to  the  (north) 
west  of  the  Mount  of  Olives,  not  far  from  the  Khalif  'Omar's 
Place  of  Prayer.  At  the  present  day,  however,  the  Plain  of  As 
Sahirah  is  that  which  lies  outside  the  Holy  City  immediately 
to  the  north.  There  is  here  the  burial-ground  where  the  Muslims 
(of  all  lands)  bury  their  dead,  and  it  occupies  a  high  position 
on  the  hillside,  being  called  the  Cemetery  (Makbarah)  of  As 
Sahirah."  (M.  a.  D.,  412.) 

The  Pool  of  Siloam  and  the  Well  of  Job. — In  the  lower  part  of 
the  Kedron  Valley  are  found  the  'Am  Sulwan  (the  Spring  of  Siloam) 
and  the  Bir  Ayyub  (the  Well  of  Job).  Despite  its  Arab  name  of 
Ain,  the  Pool  of  Siloam  is  not,  properly  speaking,  a  spring,  but 
merely  a  tank  fed  by  the  aqueduct  from  the  Virgin's  Fount  (called 
'Ain  Umm  ad  Daraj— the  Fountain  of  the  Steps),  and  having  an 
intermittent  supply  consequent  on  the  intermittent  flow  of  the 
upper  spring.  It  was  on  the  wall  of  the  tunnel  connecting  the 
Pool  of  Siloam  with  the  Virgin's  Fount  that,  in  1880,  the  now 
celebrated  Siloam  inscription  was  accidentally  discovered  by  a 
party  of  Jewish  schoolboys. 

The  Bir  Ayyub,  or  Job's  Well,  which  the  Christians,  since  the 
sixteenth  century,  have  been  in  the  habit  of  calling  the  Well  of 


Nehemiah,  is  probably  En  Rogel — the  Fuller's  Spring — mentioned, 
in  the  Book  of  Joshua  (xv.  7),  as  standing  on  the  boundary-line 
between  the  tribes  of  Judah  and  Benjamin. 

Of  these  two  fountains  of  water,  Mukaddasi,  in  985,  speaks  as 
follows :  "The  village  of  Sulwan  is  a  place  on  the  outskirts  of  the 
city.  Below  the  village  is  the  'Ain  Sulwan  (Spring  of  Siloam),  of 
fairly  good  water,  which  irrigates  the  large  gardens  which  were 
given  in  bequest  ( Wakf}  by  the  Khalif  'Oihman  ibn  'Affan  for 
the  poor  of  the  city.  Lower  down  than  this,  again,  is  Job's  Well 
(Bir  Ayyub).  It  is  said  that  on  the  Night  of  'Arafat  the  water 
of  the  holy  well  Zamzam,  at  Makkah,  comes  underground  to  the 
water  of  the  Spring  (of  Siloam).  The  people  hold  a  festival  here 
on  that  evening."  (Muk.,  171.) 

Nasir-i-Khusrau,  in  1047,  nas  tne  following  entry  in  his  Diar)  : 
"  Going  southward  of  the  city  for  half  a  league,  and  down  the 
gorge  (of  the  Wadi  Jahannum),  you  come  to  a  fountain  of  water 
gushing  out  from  the  rock,  which  they  call  the  'Ain  Sulwan  (the 
Spring  of  Siloam).  There  are  all  round  the  spring  numerous 
buildings ;  and  the  water  therefrom  flows  on  down  to  a  village, 
where  there  are  many  houses  and  gardens.  It  is  said  that  when 
anyone  washes  from  head  to  foot  in  this  water  he  obtains  relief 
from  his  pains,  and  will  even  recover  from  chronic  maladies. 
There  are  at  this  spring  many  buildings  for  charitable  purposes, 
richly  endowed ;  and  the  Holy  City  itself  possesses  an  excellent 
Bimaristan  (or  hospital),  which  is  provided  for  by  considerable 
sums  that  were  given  for  this  purpose.  Great  numbers  of  (sick) 
people  are  here  served  with  potions  and  lotions  ;  for  there  are 
physicians  who  receive  a  fixed  stipend,  and  attend  at  the 
Bimaristan."  (N.  Kh.,  26.) 

'Ali  of  Herat,  in  1173,  writes  of  the  'Ain  Sulwan  that  "its 
waters  are  like  those  of  the  Well  Zamzam  (at  Makkah).  They 
flow  from  under  the  Dome  of  the  Rock,  and  appear  in  the 
Wadi  (Jahannum)  which  is  beside  the  city."  (A.  H.,  Oxf.  MS., 
f-  39,  v.) 

Yakut,  writing  in  1225,  quotes  Mukaddasi's  account  already 
given,  and  adds  that  in  his  day  there  was  a  considerable  suburb 
of  the  city  at  Sulwan  and  gardens.  (Yak.,  iii.  125,  761.)  The 


author  of  the  Mardsid,  who  wrote  about  the  year  1300,  states 
.that  at  his  date  the  gardens  had  all  disappeared,  that  the  water 
of  Sulwan  was  no  longer  sweet,  and  that  the  buildings  were  all  in 
ruin.  (Mar.,  ii.  296.) 

Of  the  Well  of  Job,  Suyilti  quotes  a  curious  account  taken  from 
an  older  author.  He  writes  :  "  The  author  of  the  Kitab  al  Uns 
gives  the  following  account  of  the  well,  which  goes  by  the  name 
of  the  prophet  Job.  He  says  :  I  have  read  a  paper  in  the  hand- 
writing of  my  cousin,  Abu  Muhammad  al  Kasim — who  gave  me 
permission  to  make  use  thereof — which  states  that  he  read  in  a 
certain  book  of  history  how  once  the  water  ran  scarce  among  the 
people  of  the  Holy  City,  and  in  their  need  they  went  to  a  well  in 
the  neighbourhood,  which  they  descended  to  a  depth  of  80  ells. 
At  its  mouth  the  well  was  10  or  more  ells,  by  4  ells  across;  and 
its  sides  were  lined  with  masonry  of  large  stones,  some  of  which 
might  measure  even  5  ells,  but  most  of  those  in  the  depth  of  the 
well  were  i  or  2  ells  only  in  length.  A  wonder  was  it  how  these 
stones  had  been  set  in  their  places.  The  water  of  the  well  was 
cold  and  wholesome  to  drink,  and  the  people  used  thereof  during 
all  that  year,  getting  it  at  a  depth  of  80  ells.  When  the  winter 
came,  the  water  rose  more  abundantly  in  the  well,  till  it  overflowed 
the  brink,  and  ran  over  the  ground  in  the  bed  of  the  Wadi,  and 
turned  mills  for  grinding  flour.  Now  once  (says  Abu  Muhammad), 
when  there  was  scarcity  of  this  water,  and  of  that,  too,  in  the  'Ain 
Sulwan,  I  descended  with  some  workmen  to  the  bottom  of  the 
well  to  dig  there,  and  I  saw  the  water  flowing  out  from  under  a 
rock,  the  breadth  of  which  was  2  ells,  by  the  like  in  height ;  and 
there  was  a  cavern,  the  entrance  of  which  was  3  ells  high,  by  i\ 
ells  across.  From  this  cavern  there  rushed  out  an  extremely  cold 
wind,  which  nearly  made  the  lights  go  out ;  and  I  perceived  that 
the  roof  of  the  cavern  was  lined  with  masonry.  On  entering  a 
short  distance  within  the  cavern,  the  torches  could  not  be  kept 
alight,  by  reason  of  the  force  of  the  wind  which  blew  therefrom. 
This  well  is  in  the  bed  of  the  Wadi,  and  the  cave  is  in  its  bed, 
too ;  and  above  and  all  around  are  high  steep  hills,  which  a  man 
cannot  climb,  except  with  much  fatigue.  This,  also,  is  the  well 
of  which  Allah  spake  to  His  prophet  Job  (in  the  Kuran, 


xxxviii.  41),  saying,  'Stamp?  said  we,  '  with  thy  foot.  This 
(fountain)  is  to  wash  with;  cool  and  to  drink}  And  so  the 
account  of  Abu  Muhammad  al  Kasim  ends."  (S.,  273.) 

The  overflowing  of  the  waters  of  Job's  Well  is  a  matter  of 
almost  yearly  occurrence,  as  is  here  stated,  and  possibly  there 
may  be  some  underground  channel  connecting  it  with  a  reservoir 
of  water  in  the  upper  part  of  the  Gorge  of  the  Kedron. 

The  Cavern  of  Korah. — Among  the  marvels  of  Jerusalem, 
Mukaddasi  mentions  a  great  cavern  which  in  his  day  was  ap- 
parently connected  in  the  popular  tradition  with  the  history  of 
Korah  and  his  companions  in  rebellion,  of  whom  mention  occurs 
in  the  Kuran  (xxviii.  76-81)  under  the  name  of  Karun.  Mukad- 
dasi writes  : 

"  There  is  at  Jerusalem,  without  the  city,  a  huge  cavern.  Ac- 
cording to  what  I  have  heard  from  learned  men,  and  also  have 
read  in  books,  an  entrance  here  leads  into  the  place  where  lie  the 
people  slain  by  Moses.  But  there  is  no  surety  in  this ;  for  ap- 
parently it  is  but  a  stone  quarry  with  passages  leading  therefrom, 
along  which  one  may  go  with  torches."  (Muk.,  185.) 



Description  by  Mukaddasi  in  985  A.D. — The  Great  Mosque — Mosaics — City 
Gates — Other  accounts — The  rivers  of  Damascus — Villages  round  the 
City — The  Ghautah  or  Plain,  of  Damascus— The  various  water-courses — 
The  Hill  of  Jesus — Ibn  Jubair's  description  of  the  City  and  Mosque  in 
1184 — The  ascent  of  the  Great  Dome — The  two  descriptions  of  the 
Clepsydra — Ibn  Batutah's  description  in  1355 — Shrines — Suburbs — 
Traditions — Burning  of  the  Mosque  by  Timur. 

DAMASCUS,  called  in  Arabic  Dimishk,  or  Dimashk,  is  probably  the 
most  ancient  city  of  Syria,  having  kept  its  name  unchanged  through 
all  ages.  Damascus  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  invading  Muslims 
in  the  year  635,  almost  immediately  after  the  great  battle  on  the 
Yarmuk,  or  Hieromax  River  in  the  Hauran  (see  p.  54),  which 
sealed  the  fate  of  Byzantine  dominion  in  Syria.  The  Khalif 'Omar 
had  named  Abu  'Ubaidah  commander-in-chief  of  the  Arab  army, 
and,  at  the  siege  of  Damascus,  he  took  up  his  position  before 
the  western  city  gate,  leaving  Khalid,  the  victor  on  the  Yarmuk, 
commander  of  the  troops  before  the  eastern  gate.  Khalid  stormed 
the  quarter  of  the  city  near  which  he  lay  encamped,  but  on  entering 
the  town,  found  that  the  Damascenes  had  already  capitulated 
to  Abu  'Ubaidah,  who  was  peaceably  taking  possession  of  the 
western  quarter.  The  city,  therefore,  was  treated  as  one  that  had 
in  part  capitulated,  and  in  part  been  taken  by  storm ;  and  in  con- 
sequence, during  the  first  few  years  of  the  Arab  dominion,  the 
eastern  part  of  the  great  Church  of  St.  John  was  left  to  the 
Christians,  while  the  Muslims  turned  the  western  half  into  a 
mosque,  both  Christians  and  Muslims,  it  is  said,  entering  their 
respective  places  of  worship  by  the  same  gate. 


About  the  year  66 1  Damascus  was  made  the  seat  of  Government 
by  the  Khalif  Mu'awiyah,  the  founder  of  the  dynasty  of  Omayyah, 
and,  under  his  fourth  successor,  Al  Walid,  the  Great  Mosque 
was  built  on  the  ruins  of  the  Church  of  St.  John,  which  in  its  turn 
had  been  raised  on  what  had  originally  been  the  site  of  a  heathen 
temple.  Damascus  remained  the  capital  of  the  Muslim  Empire 
till  750,  when  the  Omayyad  Dynasty  was  overthrown  by  the 
Abbasides,  who  before  the  end  of  this  century  founded  Baghdad, 
and  transferred  the  capital  city  of  Islam  from  Syria  to  Mesopo- 
tamia and  the  banks  of  the  Tigris.  By  the  absence  of  the 
Khalif  and  his  Court,  Damascus  must  have  lost  much  of  its 
splendour.  The  Great  Mosque,  however,  still  remained  in  all 
its  glory,  and  this  is  well  described  in  the  following  passages, 
which  are  translated  from  Mukaddasi's  work : 

"  Damascus  is  the  chief  town  of  Syria,  and  was  the  capital  of 
the  sovereigns  of  the  House  of  Omayyah.  Here  were  their 
palaces  and  their  monuments,  their  edifices  in  wood  and  in  brick. 
The  rampart  round  the  city,  which  I  saw  when  I  was  there,  is 
built  of  mud- bricks.  Most  of  the  markets  are  roofed  in,  but  there 
is  one  among  them,  a  fine  one,  which  is  open,  running  the  whole 
length  of  the  town.  Damascus  is  a  city  intersected  by  streams 
and  begirt  with  trees.  Here  prices  are  moderate,  fruits  and  snow 
abound,  and  the  products  of  both  hot  and  cold  climes  are  found. 
Nowhere  else  will  be  seen  such  magnificent  hot  baths,  nor  such 
beautiful  fountains,  nor  people  more  worthy  of  consideration. 

"  The  city  is  in  itself  a  very  pleasant  place,  but  of  its  disadvan- 
tages are,  that  the  climate  is  scorching  and  the  inhabitants  are 
turbulent.  Fruit  here  is  insipid,  and  meat  hard ;  also  the  houses 
are  small,  and  the  streets  sombre.  Finally,  the  bread  there  is 
bad,  and  a  livelihood  is  difficult  to  make.  Around  the  city,  for 
the  distance  of  half  a  league  in  every  direction,  there  stretches  the 
level  Plain  (of  the  Ghutah).  In  a  certain  book  that  I  found  in  the 
library  of  'Adud  ad  Daulah,  it  is  said  that  there  are  two  cities, 
which  are  the  brides  of  the  earth — namely,  Damascus  and  Ar  Ray 
( Rhages) ;  and  Yahya  ibn  Aktham  states  that  there  are  in  the 
world  three  places  of  perfect  delight — namely,  the  Vale  of  Samar- 
kand, the  (Ghutah)  of  Damascus,  and  the  Canal  of  Ubullah  (below 



A.  B&b  al  Barfd,  Gate  of  the  Post. 

B.  Bab  Jairun,  also  called  Bab  as  Sa'aM  by  Ibn  Batutah. 

C.  Gate  called  at  the  present  day  Bab  az  Ziyjldah,  Gate  of  the  Addition  ;  or 

Bab  as  Surmayaliyyah,  Gate  of  the  Shoemaker's  Bazaar.     By  Mukaddasi 
(985)  named  Bab  as  Sa'dt,  Gate  of  the  Hours. 

D.  Gate  called  at  the  present  day  B&b  al  'Amarah  ;  called  Bab  al  Faradis,  the 

Gate  of  the  Gardens,  by  Mukaddasi  and  Idrisl  ;  and  Bab  an  Nadfiyyiiv 
Gate  of  the  Confectioners,  by  Ibn  Jubair,  or  Bab  an  Natif^niyyin. 

E.  Madhanat  al  Gharbiyyah,  the  Western  Minaret. 

F.  Mzldhanat  'Isa,  Minaret  of  Jesus  ;  or  the  White  Minaret. 

G.  Madhanat  al  'Arus,  the  Minaret  of  the  Bride. 

H.  The  Great  Mihrab,  near  which  is  the  ancient  gateway,  now  closed,  sur- 
mounted by  the  Greek  inscription,  and  which  opened  into  the  Church  of 
St.  John. 
I.   The  great  Dome  of  Lead,  or  Dome  of  the  Eagle. 

J.   Shrine  said  to  contain  John  the  Baptist's  head. 

K.  Dome  of  the  Treasury,  at  one  time  called  the  Dome,  or  the  Tomb  of 

L.  Dome  of  the  Fountain,  or  the  WTater-cage. 

M.  Dome  of  the  Hours,  or  the  Dome  of  Zain  al  'Abidin. 




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Baghdad).  Damascus  was  founded  by  Dimask,  the  son  of  Kani, 
the  son  of  Malik,  the  son  of  Arfakhshad  (Arphaxad),  the  son  of 
Sam  (Shem),  five  years  before  the  birth  of  Abraham  ;  Al  Asma'i, 
however,  asserts  that  its  name  is  to  be  derived  from  the  word 
Dim-uhkuhci,  meaning  '  they  hastened  to  its  building.'  Such  as  I 
know  myself  among  its  gates  are :  Bab  al  Jabiyah,  Bab  as  Saghir 
(the  Small  Gate),  Bab  al  Kabir  (the  Great  Gate),  Bab  ash  Sharki 
(the  Eastern  Gate),  Bab  Tuma  (the  Gate  of  St.  Thomas),  Bab  an 
Nahr  (the  Gate  of  the  River),  and  Bab  al  Muhamaliyyin  (the  Gate 
of  those  who  make  Camel-litters). 

"The  Mosque  of  Damascus  is  the  fairest  of  any  that  the 
Muslims  now  hold,  and  nowhere  is  there  collected  together  greater 
magnificence.  Its  outer  walls  are  built  of  squared  stones,  accurately 
set,  and  of  large  size  ;  and  crowning  the  walls  are  splendid  battle- 
ments. The  columns  supporting  the  roof  of  the  Mosque  consist 
of  black  polished  pillars  in  a  triple  row,  and  set  widely  apart.  In 
the  centre  of  the  building,  over  the  space  fronting  the  Mihrab 
(towards  Makkah),  is  a  great  dome.  Round  the  court  are  lofty 
colonnades,  above  which  are  arched  windows,  and  the  whole  area 
is  paved  with  white  marble.  The  (inner)  walls  of  the  Mosque,  for 
twice  the  height  of  a  man,  are  faced  with  variegated  marbles ;  and, 
above  this,  even  to  the  very  ceiling,  are  mosaics  of  various  colours 
and  in  gold,  showing  figures  of  trees  and  towns  and  beautiful 
inscriptions,  all  most  exquisitely  and  finely  worked.  And  rare  are 
the  trees,  and  few  the  well-known  towns,  that  will  not  be  found 
figured  on  these  walls !  The  capitals  of  the  columns  are  covered 
with  gold,  and  the  vaulting  above  the  arcades  is  everywhere  orna- 
mented in  mosaic.  The  columns  round  the  court  are  all  of  white 
marble,  while  the  walls  that  enclose  it,  the  vaulted  arcades,  and 
the  arched  windows  above,  are  adorned  in  mosaic  with  arabesque 
designs.  The  roofs  are  everywhere  overlaid  with  plates  of  lead,  and 
the  battlements  on  both  sides  are  faced  with  the  mosaic  work. 

"On  the  right  (or  western)  side*  of  the  court  is  the  treasure- 
house  (Bait  Mai)  raised  on  eight  columns,  finely  ornamented,  and 
the  walls  are  covered  with  mosaic.  Both  within  the  Mihrab,  and 
around  it,  are  set  cut-agates  and  turquoises  of  the  size  of  the  finest 
*  The  visitor  is  supposed  to  stand  facing  the  Great  Mihrjib,  H. 

I— 2 


stones  that  are  used  in  rings.  Beside  the  (great)  Mihrab,  and  to 
the  left  (east)  of  it,  there  is  another,  which  is  for  the  special  use  of 
the  Sultan.  It  was  formerly  much  dilapidated;  but  I  hear  now 
that  he  has  expended  thereon  five  hundred  Dinars  (^"250)  to 
restore  the  same  to  its  former  condition.  On  the  summit  of  the 
Dome  of  the  Mosque  is  an  orange,  and  above  it  a  pomegranate, 
both  in  gold.  But  of  the  most  wonderful  of  the  sights  here  worthy 
of  remark  is  verily  the  setting  of  the  various  coloured  marbles,  and 
how  the  veining  in  each  follows  from  that  of  its  neighbour ;  and  it 
is  such  that,  should  an  artist  come  daily  during  a  whole  year  and 
stand  before  these  mosaics,  he  might  always  discover  some  new 
pattern  and  some  fresh  design.  It  is  said  that  the  Khalif  al  Walid, 
in  order  to  construct  these  mosaics,  brought  skilled  workmen  from 
Persia,  India,  Western  Africa,  and  Byzantium,  spending  thereon 
the  whole  revenues  of  Syria  for  seven  years,  as  well  as  eighteen 
shiploads  of  gold  and  silver,  which  came  from  Cyprus.  And  this 
does  not  include  what  the  Emperor  of  Byzantium  and  the  Amirs 
of  the  Muslims  gave  to  him  in  the  matter  of  precious  stones  and 
other  materials  for  the  mosaics. 

"  The  people  enter  the  Mosque  by  four  gates — namely,  Bab 
Jairun,  Bab  al  Faradis,  Bab  al  Barid,  and  Bab  as  Sa'at.  Bab  al 
Barid  (the  Gate  of  the  Post)  opens  into  the  right-hand  (or  west 
side  of  the  court).  It  is  of  great  size,  and  has  two  smaller  gate- 
ways to  right  and  to  left  of  it.  The  chief  gateway  and  the  two 
lesser  ones  have  each  of  them  double  doors,  which  are  covered 
with  plates  of  gilded  copper.  Over  the  great  and  the  two  smaller 
gateways  are  the  porticos,  and  the  doors  open  into  the  long  colon- 
nades going  round  the  court,  which  are  vaulted  over,  the  arches  of 
the  vault  resting  on  marble  columns,  while  the  walls  are  covered 
(with  mosaics)  after  the  manner  that  has  already  been  described. 
The  ceilings  here  are  all  painted  after  the  most  exquisite  designs. 
In  these  colonnades  is  the  place  of  the  paper-sellers,  and  also  the 
court  of  the  Kadi's  (or  Judge's)  lieutenant.  Thus  the  Gate  Al  Barid 
opens  between  the  rnain-building  (the  covered  part  of  the  Mosque) 
and  the  court.  Opposite  to  it,  and  on  the  left-hand  side  (or  east)r 
is  the  Bab  Jairun,  which  is  similar  to  the  Gate  Al  Barid  just 
described,  only  that  its  porticos  are  vaulted  over  in  the  breadth. 


To  this  gate  you  ascend  by  steps,  on  which  the  astrologers  and 
other  such  people  are  wont  to  take  their  seat.  Bab  as  Sa'at  (the 
Gate  of  the  Hours)  is  in  the  eastern*  angle  of  the  covered  part  (cf 
the  Mosque).  It  has  double  doors,  which  are  unornamented,  and 
over  it  is  a  portico,  under  which  the  public  notaries  and  the  like 
take  their  seat.  The  fourth  gate  is  called  Bab  al  Faradis  (the 
Gate  of  the  Gardens),  also  with  double  doors.  It  is  opposite  the 
Mihrab,  and  opens  into  the  colonnades  (on  the  north  side  of  the 
courtyard),  between  the  two  additions  (Az  Ziyadatain)  which  have 
been  built  here  on  the  right  and  the  left.  Above  it  rises  a  minaret. 
This  has  recently  been  constructed  (or  repaired),  and  is  ornamented 
(with  mosaic  work)  in  the  manner  already  described.  Before  each 
of  these  four  gates  is  a  place  for  ablution,  of  marble,  provided 
with  cells,  wherein  is  running  water,  and  fountains  which  flow  into 
great  marble  basins.  In  the  Mosque  is  a  channel  which  they  open 
once  every  year,  and  from  it  water  gushes  out,  flooding  the  whole 
floor  of  the  Mosque  to  about  an  ell  deep,  and  its  walls  and  area 
are  thus  cleansed.  Then  they  open  another  conduit,  and  through 
it  the  water  runs  off.  From  the  Sultan's  palace,  which  is  behind 
the  Mosque,  and  is  called  Al  Khadra  (the  Green  Palace),  are 
gates  leading  into  the  Maksurah  (which  is  the  Sultan's  place  of 
prayer),  and  these  are  plated  with  gold. 

"The  Omayyad  Khalif  'Omar  ibn  'Abd  al  Aziz,  it  is  said, 
wished  at  one  time  to  demolish  the  Mosque,  and  make  use  of  its 
materials  in  the  public  works  of  the  Muslims ;  but  he  was  at  last 
persuaded  to  abandon  the  design.  I  have  read  in  some  book 
that  there  was  expended  on  this  Mosque  the  value  of  eighteen 
mule-loads  of  gold."  (Muk.,  156-160.  The  order  of  the  para- 
graphs in  our  translation  has,  in  some  instances,  been  transposed.) 

In  regard  to  the  mosaic  work,  some  fragments  of  which  may 
still  be  seen  at  the  present  day  on  the  walls  of  the  Mosque,  the 
following  note,  written  on  the  margin  of  one  of  the  MSS.  of 
Mukaddasi,  is  worth  translating  : 

"  Mosaic  is  composed  of  morsels  of  glass,  such  as  are  used  for 
the  standard  coin-weights  ;  but  they  are  yeliow  in  colour,  or  gray, 
black,  red,  and  mottled,  or  else  gilt,  by  laying  gold  on  the  surface, 
*  Probably  a  mistake  for  "  western." 


which  is  then  covered  by  a  thin  sheet  of  glass.  They  prepare 
plaster  with  Arabian  gum,  and  lay  it  over  the  walls ;  and  this  they 
ornament  with  the  mosaics,  which  are  set  so  as  to  form  figures 
and  inscriptions.  In  some  cases  they  cover  the  whole  surface 
with  the  gold-mosaic,  so  that  all  the  wall  seems  as  though  it  were 
built  of  nothing  but  pure  gold."  Mosaic  is  called  in  Arabic 
Fashfashah  or  Fusaifusa,  a  corruption  of  the  Greek  4^0; ;  for 
the  Muslims  were  in  this,  as  in  many  other  arts,  the  pupils  of  the 
Byzantines,  and  borrowed  their  technical  terms  from  the  Greek. 

The  two  main  gates  of  the  Mosque — Bab  Jairun,  opening  east : 
and  Bab  al  Barid,  opening  west — bear  the  same  names  now  that  they 
did  in  the  earliest  days  of  Islam.  But  there  is  some  confusion  in 
the  names  of  Mukaddasi's  two  last-mentioned  gates — that  is,  Bab  as 
Sa'at  and  Bab  al  Faradis.  The  plan  of  the  Mosque,  given  by  the 
Rev.  J.  L.  Porter  in  the  first  edition  of  Five  Years  in  Damascus 
(London,  1855),  is  here  reproduced.  There  is  no  gate  opening 
at  the  present  day  into  "the  eastern"  angle  of  the  Mosque.  In  the 
western  portion  of  the  south  wall  is  the  gate  for  which  A.  von 
Kremer  (Topography  of  Damascus,  in  vol.  v.  of  the  Zeitschrift 
Acad.  Wiss.,  Wien,  1854)  gives  three  names — viz.,  Bab  as 
Surmayatiyyah  (of  the  Shoemaker's  Bazaar),  or  Az  Ziyadah  (of 
the  Addition),  or  As  Sa'at  (of  the  Hours).  Bab  az  Ziyadah  is 
the  name  by  which  this  gate  is  generally  known  at  present.  This 
cannot  be  the  gate  which  Mukaddasi  calls  Bab  al  Faradis,  for 
that,  he  says,  lies  "  opposite  the  Mihrab,"  and  opens  into  the 
colonnades  through  the  recent  additions  (Ziyadatain\  although  it 
must  be  confessed  that  this  last  word  recalls  the  name  of  the 
present  Bab  az  Ziyadah  (Gate  of  the  Addition).  Mukaddasi's 
Bab  al  Faradis,  however,  from  its  position,  must  be  the  modern 
Bab  al  'Amarah,  which  opens  north,  and  is  immediately  east  of 
the  present  Madhanat  al  'Arus  (the  Minaret  of  the  Bride).  This 
last  would,  therefore,  be  the  recently-constructed  minaret  of 
Mukaddasi ;  but  that  here,  again,  is  a  doubt,  for  this  is  the  most 
ancient  minaret  of  the  Mosque,  having  been  built  by  the  Omayyad 
Khalif  al  Walid.  Perhaps,  however,  for  "constructed"  we  should 
understand  "restored,"  and  the  Arabic  may  bear 44ws  interpreta- 
tion. Mukaddasi's  Bab  al  Faradis  (Gate  of  the  Gardens),  which 


were  on  the  Barada  River  to  the  north,  is  further  identical  with 
the  Bab  an  Natifiyyin  (Gate  of  the  Confectioners)  mentioned  by 
Ibn  Jubair  (see  below,  p.  252),  by  whom,  also,  the  south  gate 
(Mukaddasi's  Bab  as  Sa'at)  is  invariably  spoken  of  as  the  Bab  az 
Ziyadah.  The  gates  leading  from  the  Mosque  to  Mu'awiyah's 
Palace  of  the  Khadra  would  appear  to  have  opened  through  the 
original  south  door  of  the  Church  of  St.  John,  long  since  closed, 
but  over  the  lintel  of  which  may  be  read  to  the  present  day  the 
well-known  inscription  in  Greek  :  *  Thy  kingdom,  O  Christ,  is  an 
everlasting  kingdom,  and  Thy  dominion  endureth  throughout  all 
generations?*  This  was,  doubtless,  the  gate  of  entrance  used  by 
Muslims  and  Christians  alike,  till  the  time  of  Al  Walid's  rebuilding 
of  the  Mosque. 

The  city  gates,  seven  in  number,  enumerated  by  Mukaddasi, 
may,  for  the  most  part,  be  easily  identified.  Bab  Jabiyah,  called 
from  the  suburb  of  that  name,  is  at  the  western  end  of  the 
"  Straight  Street,"  at  the  eastern  end  of  which  is  Bab  ash  Sharki, 
the  East  Gate.  During  the  siege  of  Damascus,  according  to 
Biladhuri,  Khalid  lay  before  this  East  Gate,  while  Abu  'Ubaidalvs 
camp  was  at  the  Bab  Jabiyah.  (Bil.,  121.)  Bab  as  Saghir,  the 
Small  Gate,  lies  at  the  south-western  angle  of  the  city  wall.  At  the 
present  day  the  name  is  generally  corrupted  into  Bab  ash  Shaghur, 
from  the  suburb  of  the  name  lying  near  it.  Mukaddasi's  Bab  al 
Kabir,  the  Great  Gate,  is,  presumably,  what  is  otherwise  called,  in 
both  ancient  and  modern  days,  Bab  Kaisan.  It  opens  at  the 
south-eastern  angle  of  the  city  wall.  Between  Bab  Kaisan  and 
Bab  as  Saghir,  says  Biladhuri,  lay  the  army  under  Yazid  ibn  Abi 
Sufiyan  during  the  great  siege.  After  passing  Bab  ash  Sharki,  Bab 
Tuma  (Gate  of  St.  Thomas)  is  at  the  north-east  angle  ;  and  here, 
during  the  siege,  were  the  troops  under  the  Arab  general  'Amr 
ibn  al  'As,  in  later  years  the  conqueror  of  Egypt.  Bab  an  Nahr 
(the  River  Gate)  must  have  opened  on  the  Barada,  and  is  probably 
the  Bab  al  Faradis,  mentioned  by  Biladhuri  as  the  site  of  Shurah- 
bil's  camp  at  the  siege.  It  opens  immediately  to  the  north  of  the 
Great  Mosque.  Bab  al  Mahamaliyyin,  the  Gate  of  the  Camel 
Litter-makers,  is  probably  the  Bab  al  Faraj  mentioned  by  Ibn 
*  Psalm  cxlv.  13.  The  words  '  O  Christ '  being  interpolated. 


Jubair  (see  below,  p.  254),  or  else  the  modern  Bab  al  Hadid, 
which,  in  Ibn  Jubair's  days,  was  called  Bab  an  Nasr.  Bab  as 
Salam,  or  As  Salamah,  the  Gate  of  Safety,  which  is  first  mentioned 
by  Idrisi  (see  below,  p.  239),  opens  on  the  river,  in  the  north 
wall,  between  the  Bab  Tiima  and  the  Bab  al  Faradis. 

During  the  century  preceding  Mukaddasi,  we  have  several  short 
notices  of  Damascus.  One  of  the  earliest  is  found  in  the  Road 
Book  of  Ibn  Khurdadbih,  who  wrote  in  864.  According  to  his 
view  "  Damascus  is  (the  fabled  city  of)  Irani  of  the  Columns 
(Iram  dhat  al  ^Amud\  The  city  is  said  to  have  been  in  existence 
before  the  days  of  Noah — peace  be  on  him  ! — and  it  was  from 
Jabal  Lubnan  /the  Lebanon)  that  Noah  set  forth  in  the  ark, 
which  came  to  rest  again  on  Mount  Al  Judi  in  the  Kurd  country. 
When  the  children  of  Noah  had  multiplied,  they  abandoned  the 
caves  (Sardafr)  made  by  King  Nimrud  ibn  Kush,  who  was  the 
first  of  the  kings  in  the  earth ;  and  he  reigned  over  the  Jews,  who 
are  the  People  of  the  Law."  (I.  Kh.,  71.) 

Ya'kubi,  in  891,  writes  : 

"  Damascus  is  the  capital  of  Syria.  Its  river  is  the  Barada. 
Abu  Ubaidah,  in  the  year  14  (635),  gained  possession  of  the  city 
by  capitulation,  entering  by  the  Bab  al  Jabiyah ;  while  Khalid 
stormed  the  Bab  ash  Sharki.  Damascus  was  the  seat  of  the 
ancient  Ghassanide  kings.  It  contains  also  relics  of  the  Jafnide 
princes.  It  was  the  capital  of  the  Omayyads  ;  and  (the  Green 
Palace  called)  Al  Khadra  of  Mu'awiyah,  which  was  the  seat  of 
his  Government,  is  here.  The  Mosque,  the  finest  in  Islam,  was 
built  by  the  Khalif  al  Walid  "  (Yb.,  113.) 

In  the  epitome  of  Ibn  al  Fakih,  the  following  notes  are  found 
on  Damascus.  The  tenor  of  them  has  been  copied  by  many 
subsequent  writers : 

"  Damascus  has  six  gates  ;  these  are :  Bab  al  Jabiyah,  Bab  as 
Saghir,  Bab  Kaisan,  Bab  ash  Sharki,  Bab  Tuma,  and  Bab  al  Faradis. 
All  these  existed  from  the  days  of  the  Greeks.  When  the  Khalif 
al  Walid  had  the  intention  of  rebuilding  the  Mosque  at  Damascus, 
he  sent  for  the  Christians  of  Damascus,  and  said  to  them  :  '  We 
purpose  to  add  your  church  to  our  Mosque  ;  but  we  will  give  you 
a  place  for  a  church  elsewhere,  and  wheresoever  you  will.' 


"  And  the  Christians  sought  to  turn  him  from  it,  saying : 
4  Verily  it  is  written  in  our  books  that  he  who  shall  destroy  this 
church  shall  choke  to  death.' 

"  But  Al  Walid  cried  out :  '  Verily  I  will  be  the  first  to  destroy 
it.'  So  he  went  up  into  the  church,  and  there  was  a  yellow  dome 
there,  and  this  he  destroyed  with  his  own  hand.  And  the  people 
pulled  down  other  portions,  as  he  set  the  example.  After  this  he 
increased  the  size  of  the  Mosque  by  the  double.  When  the 
church  had  thus  been  destroyed,  the  King  of  Rum  (Byzantium) 
wrote  to  the  Khalif,  saying :  *  Verily  thou  hast  destroyed  the 
church  which  thy  father  did  purpose  to  preserve.  Now,  if  thou 
didst  right,  thy  father  then  did  wrong ;  and  even  if  he  did  wrong, 
was  it  for  thee  to  set  thyself  in  opposition  to  him  ?' 

"  Al  Walid  did  not  know  what  to  answer,  but  took  counsel 
of  the  people,  and  sent  to  Al  'Irak  even  for  advice  in  the  matter. 
And  the  poet,  Al  Farazdak,  said  to  him  :  '  O,  Commander 
of  the  Faithful,  answer  in  the  words  of  Allah — be  He  exalted  and 
glorified  ! — And  (remember)  David  and  Solomon,  when  they  gave 
judgment  concerning  a  field  when  some  people's  sheep  had  caused 
a  waste  therein  ;  and  We  were  witnesses  of  their  judgment.  And 
We  gave  Solomon  insight  into  the  affair ;  and  on  both  of  them  IVe 
bestowed  wisdom  and  knowledge?  (Kuran,  xxi.  78,  79.)  So 
Al  Walid  wrote  to  the  King  of  Rum  this  verse  for  an  answer, 
and  received  no  reply. 

"  Al  Walid  spent  on  the  building  of  the  Mosque  at  Damascus 
the  land-tax  (Kharaj)  of  the  Empire  during  seven  years.  He 
finished  the  building  thereof  in  the  space  of  eight  years.  The  ac- 
counts of  the  expenditure  were  brought  in  to  him  on  the  backs  of 
eighteen  camels,  but  he  ordered  them  all  to  be  burnt.  There  is  pray- 
ing space  for  twenty  thousand  men  in  this  Mosque,  and  there  are  six 
hundred  golden  chains  for  suspending  the  lamps.  Of  Zaid  ibn 
Wakid,  it  is  related  that  the  Khalif  al  Walid  made  him  overseer 
for  the  building  of  the  Mosque  at  Damascus,  and  he  discovered 
there  a  cave,  the  fact  of  which  was  made  known  to  Al  \Valid.  By 
night  the  Khalif  descended  thereinto,  and,  behold,  it  was  a  beautiful 
chapel,  3  ells  long,  by  the  like  across,  and  within  lay  a  chest, 
inside  of  which  was  a  basket,  on  which  was  written  :  This  is  the 


Head  of  John,  the  son  of  Zacharias.  And  after  they  had  examined 
it,  Al  Walid  commanded  that  it  should  be  placed  under  a  certain 
pillar  in  the  Mosque  that  he  indicated.  So  it  was  placed  beneath 
this  pillar,  which  is  now  inlaid  with  marble,  and  it  is  the  fourth  of 
those  on  the  eastern  side,  and  is  known  as  'Amud  as  Sakasik,  the 
Pillar  of  Humility.  At  the  time  the  head  was  laid  here,  Zaid, 
aforesaid,  states  that  he  saw  the  same,  and  that  the  hair  and  flesh 
thereon  had  nowise  suffered  decay. 

"The  Minarets  (Afaidhanah)  which  are  in  the  Damascus  Mosque 
were  originally  watch-towers  in  the  Greek  days,  and  belonged  to 
the  Church  of  John.  When  Al  Walid  destroyed  this  church,  and 
turned  the  whole  Area  into  a  Mosque,  he  left  these  in  their  old 
condition.  He  who  was  afterwards  the  Khalif  Mu'awiyah  built  the 
Khadra  (Palace)  in  Damascus  during  the  Khalifate  of  'Othman,  and 
while  he  himself  was  Governor  of  Syria."  (I.  F.,  106-108.) 

From  Mas'udi's  great  historical  work,  entitled  'Ihe  Meadows 
of  Gold,  written  in  the  year  943  A.D.,  some  interesting  notes  on 
Damascus  are  to  be  gleaned : 

"  The  Khalif  Mu'awiyah  lies  buried  at  the  gate  called  Bab  as 
Saghir;  this  tomb  is  still,  in  the  present  year,  332  A.H.,  much 
visited.  Over  it  stands  a  building,  which  is  opened  every  Monday 
and  Thursday."  (Mas.,  v.  14.) 

"  In  the  year  87  (706)  the  Khalif  al  Walid  began  the  construction 
of  the  Great  Mosque  at  Damascus.  When  he  had  begun  to 
build,  they  found  in  the  court  of  the  Mosque  a  tablet  of  stone,  on 
which  was  an  inscription  in  Greek,  which  none  of  the  learned 
could  read,  till  it  was  sent  to  Wahb  ibn  Munabbih,  who  pronounced 
that  it  had  been  written  in  the  days  of  Solomon,  the  son  of  David; 
and  Wahb  read  it.  The  Khalif  al  WTalid  gave  orders  to  set  an 
inscription  in  gold  on  lapis  lazuli  in  the  court  of  the  Mosque,  and 
it  ran  as  follows  :  Allah  is  our  Lord,  and  we  worship  none  but 
Allah.  The  servant  of  Allah,  Al  Watid,  the  Commander  of  the 
Faithful,  hath  ordered  the  building  of  this  Mosque,  and  the  destruc- 
tion of  the  church  which  was  here  in  former  days.  Set  up  in  Dhu-l- 
Hijjah  of  the  year  87.*  These  words,  written  in  gold,  may  be  seen 

*  Not  a  trace  of  this  inscription  is  to  be  seen  at  the  present  day.  Con- 
cerning Wahb  ibn  Munabbih,  see  p.  142. 


in  the  Mosque  of  Damascus  in  these  our  own  days,  in  the  year 
332  A.H."     (Mas.,  v.  361.) 

Concerning  Jairftn,  after  whom  the  eastern  gate  of  the  Mosque 
is  named,  Mas'udi  supplies  the  following  information  : 

"Jairun  was  the  son  of  Sa'ad,  son  of  'Ad,  and  he  came  to 
Damascus,  and  made  it  his  capital.  He  transported  thither  a 
great  number  of  columns  of  marble  and  alabaster,  and  constructed 
thereof  a  lordly  edifice,  which  he  called  Irani  dhdt  al  'Amud,  or 
Iram  of  the  Columns.  In  our  own  days,  in  the  year  332  A.M.,  this 
same  edifice  is  to  be  seen  in  one  of  the  markets  at  the  Gate  of  the 
Great  Mosque,  called  Bab  Jairun.  This  Palace  of  Jairun  was 
a  wondrous  building.  Its  gates  were  of  brass.  Part  of  it 
remains  as  it  was,  and  part  is  incorporated  in  the  Mosque." 
(Mas.,  iii.  271.) 

The  geographer  Istakhri,  whose  work  was  re-edited  by  Ibn 
Haukal  in  978,  gives  the  following  account  of  Damascus.  Ibn 
Haukal's  work,  it  will  be  noted,  is  almost  contemporaneous  with 
the  long  description  already  quoted  from  Mukaddasi : 

"  I  Damascus  (Dimishk)  is  the  name  of  the  province  ;  and  its 
capital,  called  by  the  same  name,  is  the  most  glorious  of  the  cities 
of  Syria.  It  lies  in  an  extensive  plain,  with  mountains  round  it, 
and  water  in  plenty  is  on  every  hand.  Trees  and  fields  are 
continuous  on  all  sides.  This  plain  is  called  the  Ghutah  ;  it 
extends  a  march  across,  by  two  marches  in  length,  and  nowhere  in 
all  Syria  is  there  a  more  delightful  place.  The  waters  of  Damascus 
take  their  rise  at  a  spot  under  a  church,  known  by  the  name  of  Al 
Fijah,  to  which  place  also  descends  the  stream  from  'Ain  Barada 
in  Jabal  Sanir.  And  all  along  its  banks  are  numerous  springs. 
The  spring  of  water  at  Fijah  is  an  ell  deep,  by  a  fathom  across. 
Below  this  spot  there  branches  off  a  great  canal,  which  the  Khalif 
Yazid,  son  of  Mu'awiyah,  had  dug.  This  is  so  deep  that  a  man 
may  plunge  into  its  waters.  Below  this,  again,  there  branch  off 
(the  two  canals  of)  the  Nahr  al  Mizzah  and  the  Nahr  al  Kanat  (or 
Kanawat).  The  main  stream  leaves  the  gorges  at  a  place  called 
An  Nirab.  This  is  said  to  be  the  place  alluded  to  in  the  words 
of  the  Kuran  (xxiii.  52):  'And  we  prepared  for  both  (Mary 
and  her  Son)  an  abode  in  a  lofty  hill,  quiet,  and  watered  with 


springs.'  Below  this  gorge  is  the  main  stream  of  the  Barada 
river.  In  the  middle  of  the  city  of  Damascus  a  bridge  crosses  the 
river,  for  the  stream  is  very  broad,  and  so  deep  that  a  rider  cannot 
ford  it.  Below  the  city,  again,  the  river  waters  all  the  villages 
of  the  Ghutah.  But  from  above,  the  water  is  conducted  into  ail 
the  houses  and  streets  and  baths  of  the  city. 

"  Now,  as  to  the  Mosque  at  Damascus,  there  is  none  to  equal  it 
in  all  Islam,  and  on  none  other  has  so  much  been  spent.  The 
walls  and  the  dome,  which  is  above  the  Mihrab  near  the  Maksurah, 
were  built  by  the  ancient  Sabaeans,  for  this  was  their  place  of 
worship.  After  them  it  came  into  the  hands  of  the  Greeks,  and 
they  also  held  their  worship  there.  From  them  it  passed  to  the 
Jews,  and  the  kings  who  were  idolaters.  In  their  day  was  slain 
John,  the  son  of  Zacharias,  and  they  set  up  his  head  above  the 
Gate  of  the  Mosque,  which  is  called  the  Bab  Jairun.  And  after  this 
the  Christians  conquered  the  city,  and  in  their  hands  it  became  a 
church,  wherein  they  were  wont  to  worship.  Now,  when  Islam 
came,  and  the  place  passed  into  the  power  of  the  Muslims,  they 
turned  it  into  a  mosque,  and  over  the  Gate  Jairun  was  set  the 
head  of  Al  Husain  ibn  'Ali  (grandson  of  the  Prophet),  in  the  very 
place  where  had  been  set  the  head  of  John  the  son  of  Zacharias 
of  old.  When  it  came  to  the  days  of  the  Khalif  al  Walid,  the  son 
of  'Abd  al  Malik,  he  built  (the  Mosque),  laying  down  the  pave- 
ment in  marbles,  facing  the  walls  with  variegated  marble,  and 
setting  up  marble  pillars  of  various  colours  ;  and  the  keystones  (of 
the  arches)  and  the  capitals  of  the  columns  he  overlaid  with  gold. 
The  Mihrab  also  was  gilt  everywhere,  and  set  with  precious  stones, 
while  the  ceiling  was  of  wooden  beams  likewise  gilt.  All  round 
the  ceiling  ran  an  inscription  on  a  gold  background,  and  this  con- 
tinued round  all  the  four  walls  of  the  Mosque. 

"It  is  said  that  there  was  spent  on  this  Mosque  the  whole 
revenue  of  Syria  for  two  (five  or  seven)*  years.  The  roof  of  the 
Mosque  is  of  leaden  plates.  When  they  wish  to  cleanse  the 
Mosque  they  let  in  water,  which  flows  over  the  whole  of  the  floor, 
and  before  it  is  drawn  off  it  has  spread  out  into  all  the  corners, 
for  the  area  is  perfectly  level.  In  the  time  of  the  Omayyads,  the 
Kharaj  (or  revenue  from  the  land-tax)  of  Syria  was  1,200,000 
*  Other  MSS. 


Dinars  (another  MS.  gives  the  amount  as  1,800,000  Dinars — 
^600,000  or  ^900,000).  The  violent  and  insurgent  ways  of  the 
Damascenes  are  owing  to  the  influence  of  their  Star,  which  is  the 
sign  of  Leo,  and  it  has  this  effect  when  in  the  ascendant.  The 
Damascenes  are  always  revolting  against  their  governors,  and  they 
are  treacherous  by  nature.  Leo  in  the  ascendant  is  also  the  Star 
of  Samarkand,  Ardabil,  Makkah,  and  Palermo."  (Is.,  59,  60; 
I.  H.,  114-116,  and  copied  in  part  by  A.  F.,  230.) 

Idrisi,  writing  in  1154  from  the  accounts  he  obtained  of  home- 
coming travellers,  or  read  in  books — for,  as  above  noticed  (p.  7),  it 
would  not  appear  that  he  had  ever  himself  travelled  in  Syria — 
gives  a  most  glowing  account  of  Damascus  and  the  great  plain  in 
which  the  city  lies.  He  writes  : 

"Damascus  is  the  most  beautiful  city  of  Syria,  the  finest  in 
situation,  the  most  temperate  in  climate,  the  most  hurnid  in  soil, 
having  the  greatest  variety  of  fruits,  and  the  utmost  abundance  of 
vegetables.  The  greater  part  of  the  land  here  is  fruitful,  and  the 
most  portion  rich.  Everywhere  is  seen  the  plain  country,  and  the 
houses  are  high  built.  Damascus  has  hills  and  fields,  which  last  are 
(in  a  plain)  called  the  Ghautah  (or  Ghutah).  The  Ghautah  is  two 
marches  long,  with  a  breadth  of  one  march ;  and  in  it  are  farmsteads 
that  resemble  towns  ;  such  are  Al  Mizzah,  Daraya,  Barzah,  Harasta, 
Kaukaba,  Balas,  Kafar  Susiyyah,  and  Bait  Ilahiya,  in  which  last  is 
a  mosque  nearly  as  large  as  that  of  Damascus.  From  the  western 
gate  of  Damascus  goes  the  Wadi  al  Banafsaj,  the  Valley  of  Violets, 
the  length  of  which  is  1 2  miles,  and  the  breadth  3  miles.  It  is 
everywhere  planted  with  various  sorts  of  fruit-trees.  Five  streams 
run  through  it,  and  in  every  one  of  its  domains  are  from  one  to 
two  thousand  inhabitants.  The  Ghautah,  too,  is  covered  with 
trees  and  crossed  by  rivers,  and  its  waters  ramify  and  spread  into 
all  its  orchards  and  farms.  There  are  grown  here  all  sorts  of 
fruits,  so  that  the  mind  cannot  conceive  the  variety,  nor  can  any 
comparison  show  what  is  the  fruitfulness  and  excellence  thereof, 
for  Damascus  is  the  most  delightful  of  all  God's  cities  in  the  whole 
world.  The  waters  of  the  Ghautah  come  down  in  part  from  'Ain 
al  Fijah,  which  is  a  spring  up  in  the  mountains.  The  waters 
burst  out  high  in  the  mountain-flank  like  a  great  river,  making  a 
frightful  noise  and  a  great  rushing,  which  you  may  hear  from  afar. 


The  water  flows  down  from  hence  to  the  village  of  Abil,  and  from 
here  attains  the  city.  But  before  it  comes  to  the  city  there  branch 
off  from  it  many  well-known  canals,  such  as  the  Nahr  Yazid,  Nahr 
Thaurah,  Nahr  Barada,  Nahr  Kanat  al  Mizzah,  Nahr  Banas,  Nahr 
Sakt,  Nahr  Yashkur,  and  Nahr  'Adiyah.  The  water  of  the  river 
of  Damascus  is  not  used  for  drinking  purposes,  for  into  its  stream 
open  the  conduits  that  carry  away  the  filth  of  the  city,  and  the 
pipes  from  the  wash-houses  and  the  smaller  waterways.  The 
water  of  the  river  ramifies  through  all  the  city,  and  over  its  main 
stream  is  a  bridge  which  the  people  cross,  as  likewise  is  the  case 
by  the  other  canals  we  have  mentioned.  From  the  riverside  go 
the  markets,  and  water  is  conducted  to  all  parts  of  the  city,  entering 
the  houses  and  the  baths  and  the  markets  and  the  gardens. 

"  In  Damascus  there  is  the  Mosque,  the  like  of  which  building 
exists  in  no  other  place  of  the  earth,  nor  is  any  more  beautiful  in 
proportion,    nor    any    more    solidly    constructed,    nor    any    more 
securely   vaulted,   nor   any  more    wonderfully  planned,   nor   any 
more  admirably  decorated  with  all  varieties  of  gold  mosaic  work, 
and  enamelled  tiles,  and  polished  marble.     The  Mosque  stands  in 
a  quarter  of  the  city  called  Al  Mizab.     He  who  approaches  it  by 
the  side  of  the  Bab  Jairun  ascends  thereto  by  large  and  broad 
steps  of  marble  some  thirty  in  number,  while  whoso  would  enter 
the  Mosque  from  the  side  of  the  Bab  al  Barid,  or  from  the  Khadra 
passage-way,  or  from  the  Kasr  (Castle),  or  from  the  Golden  Stone 
(Hajar  ad/i  Dhahab\  or  the  Bab  al  Faradis,  enters  on  the  level  of 
the  ground  and  ascends  no  steps.     There  are  in  the  Mosque  many 
remains  of  past  ages,  such  as  the  walls,  and  the  dome,  which  is 
above  the  Mihrab  near  the  Maksurah.     They  say  that  this  dome 
was  built  by  the  Sabaeans,  it  having  been  their  place  of  prayer ; 
after  whom  it  passed  into  the  hands  of  the  Greeks,  who  celebrated 
therein  the  rites  of  their  religion  ;   and  after  them  it  passed  to 
certain  kings  who  were  idolaters,  and  then  it  served  as  a  house  for 
their  idols.     It  then  passed  to  the  Jews,  and  in  their  days  John, 
the  son  of  Zachariah,  was  put  to  death,  and  his  head  was  placed 
above  the  Gate  of  the  Mosque,  called  the  Bab  Jairun.     Next  the 
Christians  took  the  city,  and,  entering  into  possession,  in  their 
hands  the  edifice  became  a  church,  wherein  they  performed  their 
services.     Lastly  came  Islam,  conquering  the  city,  and  the  Muslims 


turned  it  into  a  Jami'  Mosque.  Now,  when  it  came  to  the  days  of 
the  Khalif  al  Walid,  the  son  of  'Abd  al  Malik,  of  the  House  of 
Omayyah,  he  built  the  Mosque,  and  laid  the  floor  in  marble,  and 
gilded  the  arches  and  the  capitals,  and  erected  a  golden  Mihrab 
(or  niche),  and  set  into  all  the  walls  jewels  of  various  kinds.  And 
all  under  the  ceiling  ran  an  inscription,  which  went  round  the  four 
walls  of  the  Mosque,  of  most  beautiful  workmanship  and  most 
elegant  characters.  It  is  said  that  this  Khalif  covered  the  outer  roof 
with  plates  of  lead,  firmly  joined  together,  and  of  most  durable 
construction.  Water  was  brought  into  (the  Mosque)  through 
conduits  of  lead,  and  when  it  was  necessary  to  cleanse  the 
Mosque,  they  opened  the  water-pipes,  and  in  a  most  convenient 
manner  flooded  the  whole  of  the  Mosque  court.  They  say  that 
the  Khalif  al  Walid,  aforementioned,  expended  on  the  construction 
of  the  Jami'  Mosque  the  revenues  of  Syria  for  two  whole  years. 

"  Damascus  has  been  rebuilt  since  the  days  of  Islam.  In 
ancient  times  there  stood  on  the  place  it  now  occupies  a  town 
called  Al  Jabiyah.  This  was  in  the  days  of  ignorance  (before 
Islam),  and  Damascus  was  subsequently  built  in  its  place.  The 
city  has  various  gates  ;  among  others,  Bab  al  Jabiyah.  Before  this 
gate  there  are  lands  that  are  everywhere  built  over  with  houses,  for 
a  distance  of  some  6  miles  in  the  length,  and  3  miles  in  the 
breadth,  and  the  whole  of  this  space  is  covered  with  trees  and 
houses,  among  which  meander  streams  of  water.  Of  other  gates 
are  Bab  Tuma  (Gate  of  St.  Thomas),  Bab  as  Salamah,  Bab  al 
Faradis—  over  against  which  last  is  the  convent  known  as  Dair 
Murran — and  lastly,  Bab  as  Saghii. 

"  The  City  of  Damascus  contains  all  manner  of  good  things, 
and  streets  of  various  craftsmen,  with  (merchants  selling)  all  sorts  of 
silk  and  brocade  of  exquisite  rarity  and  wonderful  workmanship  — 
all  this,  such  that  the  like  exists  nowhere  else.  That  which  they 
make  here  is  carried  into  all  cities,  and  borne  in  ships  to  all 
quarters,  and  all  capital  towns  both  far  and  near.  The  manu- 
facture of  the  Damascus  brocade  is  a  wonderful  art.  It  some- 
what resembles  the  best  of  the  brocades  of  the  Greeks,  and  is  like 
to  the  cloths  of  Dastawa  (in  Persia),  and  rivals  the  work  of  Ispahan, 
being  preferred  for  workmanship  to  the  broideries  of  Nishapur 
for  the  beauty  of  the  unvariegated  raw-silk  woof.  Further,  the 


Damascus  work  is  better  than  the  best  of  the  (Egyptian)  cloths 
from  Tinnis,  and  the  embroideries  of  Damascus  take  the  prize  of 
the  most  precious  of  stuffs,  and  of  all  beautiful  things.  You  cannot 
equal  them  in  any  sort,  nor  set  to  them  their  like. 

"  Within  the  City  of  Damascus  there  are  many  mills  on  the 
streams,  and  the  wheat  ground  there  is  of  extremely  good  quality. 
Also  there  are  various  kinds  of  fruits,  which  for  sweetness  you  will 
not  find  the  like  elsewhere ;  and  it  would  be  impossible  to  describe 
the  abundance  and  the  excellence  and  the  lusciousness  thereof. 
The  inhabitants  of  Damascus  have  most  plentiful  means  of  liveli- 
hood, and  all  they  require.  The  craftsmen  of  the  city  are  in  high 
renown,  and  its  merchandise  is  sought  in  all  the  markets  of  the 
earth  ;  while  the  city  itself  is  the  most  lovely  of  the  cities  of  Syria 
and  the  most  perfect  for  beauty."  (Id.,  12-15.) 

'All  of  Herat,  who  wrote  in  1173,  mentions  among  the  places 
worthy  of  visitation  at  Damascus,  the  Hill  (Ribwah),  near  Jabal  al 
Kasiyun,*  where  Christ  and  the  Virgin  Mary  dwelt ;  also  the 
Cavern  of  Blood,  where  Cain  slew  Abel.  All  this  has  been 
copied  into  Yakut  (see  below,  p.  259).  At  a  place  called  Mash- 
had  al  Akdam,  south  of  Damascus,  is  shown  a  sacred  foot- 
print, and  near  it  the  Tomb  of  Moses  ;  but  this  last,  as  'AH 
remarks,  is  not  authentic.  In  the  court  of  the  Damascus  Mosque, 
the  small  edifice  known  as  the  Treasury  (Bait  al  Mai)  was 
pointed  out  in  his  day  as  being  the  Tomb  of  'Ayishah,  the 
Prophet's  favourite  wife.  (A.  H.,  Oxf.  MS.,  ff.  16,  24.) 

In  the  year  1184  Damascus  was  visited  by  the  Spanish  Arab 
Ibn  Jubair.  He  has  devoted  a  large  section  of  his  Diary  to  a 
description  of  all  the  wonders  of  the  city,  which  he  duly  visited 
during  his  sojourn  there.  These  he  enumerates  and  describes  in 
the  rhetorical  style  so  much  affected  by  the  writers  of  this  period. 
A  full  translation  of  his  Diary  would  be  tedious  and  occupy  too 
much  space  ;  and  in  the  following  rendering  of  the  original  Arabic, 
while  everything  of  interest  has,  it  is  hoped,  been  preserved,  the 

*  The  name  of  Jabal  Kasiyun,  the  hill  overhanging  Damascus  on  the  north- 
west, is  said  to  be  a  corruption  of  Mons  Casius.  It  should  be  noted,  however, 
that  no  classical  geographer  speaks  of  a  Mons  Casius  in  the  neighbourhood  of 


pompous  phraseology  has  been  considerably  condensed.  The 
caravan  with  which  Ibn  Jubair  travelled  reached  Damascus  in 
July,  1184  (Second  Rabi'  A.H.  580),  and  they  stopped  at  a 
place  called  Dar  al  Hadith,  lying  to  the  west  of  the  Jami'  Mosque. 
After  speaking  of  the  beautiful  gardens,  the  excellent  climate,  and 
other  such  matters  which  have  caused  the  city  to  be  called  the 
Bride  of  the  Earth,  Ibn  Jubair  notes  that  to  the  east  extends  the 
plain  of  the  Ghautah,  green  and  beautiful  to  see,  the  whole  country 
round  being  a  perfect  Paradise  of  Earth.  His  description  of  the 
Great  Mosque  is  as  follows  : 

"  Of  the  wonders  of  the  Jami'  Mosque  of  Damascus  is  that  no 
spider  spins  his  web  there,  and  no  bird  of  the  swallow-kind 
(Khutt&f)  alights  thereon.  The  Khalif  al  Walid  was  he  who  began 
to  build  the  Mosque.  He  applied  to  the  King  of  the  Greeks  at 
Constantinople  to  send  him  twelve  thousand  men  of  the  artificers 
of  his  country,  at  the  same  time  threatening  him  with  chastise- 
ment if  he  delayed.  But  the  King  of  the  Greeks  did  as  he  was 
commanded  with  all  docility,  and  many  embassies  went  from  the 
one  Sovereign  to  the  other,  even  as  is  related  in  the  books  of 
history.  Then  the  Khalif  began,  and  brought  to  a  close,  the 
building  of  the  Mosque.  And  all  its  walls  were  overlaid  with  the 
mosaic  work  called  Al  Fusaifusa.  With  this  ornamentation  they 
depicted  in  varied  colours  all  manner  of  objects,  such  as  trees, 
making  the  semblance  of  their  branches  hanging  down,  all  worked 
into  a  pattern.  Also  there  were  interlaced  scrolls  of  mosaic, 
whereon  were  depicted  various  novel  and  wonderful  subjects  most 
astounding  to  behold ;  so  that,  on  account  of  the  brilliancy  and 
splendour,  those  who  came  were  fain  to  cover  their  eyes.  The 
sum  expended  on  the  building  of  the  Mosque — according  to  the 
authority  of  Ibn  al  Mughlt  al  Asadi,  in  his  work  descriptive  of 
the  building — was  four  hundred  chests,  each  chest  containing 
28,000  Dinars,  the  sum  total  coming  to  11,200,000  Dinars.* 

"  It  was  the  Khalif  al  Walid  who  took  possession  of  that  half 
of  the  Mosque  which  was  still  in  the  hands  of  the  Christians,  and 
threw  the  two  portions  into  one.  For  in  early  days  the  building 

*  Above  five  and  a  half  millions  sterling.  The  figures  are  doubtless 
imaginary,  and  some  different  readings  occur  in  the  MSS. 



was  divided  into  two  portions — one  half — and  it  was  the  eastern 
— belonged  to  the  Muslims,  and  the  other  half — namely,  the 
western — to  the  Christians.  And  this  by  reason  that  Abu 
'Ubaidah  ibn  al  Jarrah  had  (during  the  siege)  entered  the  city  on 
the  west  quarter,  and  had  reached  the  western  side  of  the  church, 
and  here  had  made  a  capitulation  with  the  Christians:  while,  in 
the  meantime,  Khalid  ibn  al  Walid  had  taken  the  eastern  part  of 
the  city  by  assault,  and  had  from  this  side  arrived  at  the  eastern 
wall  of  the  church.  The  eastern  portion  (of  the  Church  of  St. 
John)  thus  came  by  conquest  into  the  hands  of  the  Muslims,  and 
they  had  made  of  it  a  mosque ;  but  the  western  half,  where  the 
treaty  of  capitulation  had  been  granted,  had  remained  to  the 
Christians,  and  was  their  church  until  the  time  when  Al  Walid 
took  it  from  them.  He  would  have  given  them  another  church  in 
exchange  ;  but  the  Christians  would  not  agree,  and  they  made  objec- 
tion to  the  act  of  the  Khalif,  and  forced  him  to  take  their  church 
from  them  by  force,  and  he  himself  began  the  work  of  demolishing 
the  building.  Now,  it  had  been  said  that  he  who  should  pull 
down  this  church  would  become  mad ;  but,  none  the  less,  Al 
Walid  made  haste  to  begin,  crying  out,  '  Let  me  be  mad ;  yea, 
mad  in  the  work  of  God  !'  and  so  began  to  pull  down  the  walls 
with  his  own  hands.  Then  the  Muslims  hastened  to  his  aid,  and 
very  soon  the  whole  was  demolished.  Afterwards,  during  the 
days  of  the  Khalif  'Omar  ibn  'Abd  al  'Aziz,  the  Christians  laid 
a  petition  before  the  Khalif  on  this  matter,  and  they  brought 
forth  the  treaty  which  was  in  their  hands,  in  which  the  Companions 
(of  the  Prophet  who  were  present  at  the  siege)  had  agreed  to 
leave  the  western  portion  to  them  entirely.  'Omar  would  fain 
have  given  the  Mosque  back  to  the  Christians,  but  the  Muslims 
were  of  a  mind  to  prevent  him.  So  the  Khalif  gave  the  Christians 
in  exchange  for  their  consent  to  its  remaining  to  the  Muslims  a 
great  sum,  and  with  this  they  went  away  content.  It  is  said  that 
the  first  who  raised  the  Kiblah  wall  at  this  spot  was  the  Prophet 
Hud— peace  be  on  him ! — so,  at  least,  says  Ibn  al  Mughli.  Ac- 
cording to  the  authority  of  the  traditionist  Sufiyan  ath  Thuri,  one 
prayer  said  in  this  Mosque  is  equivalent  to  thirty  thousand  prayers 
said  elsewhere. 


"  We  shall  now  proceed  to  enumerate  the  measurements  of  the 
Mosque,  and  to  give  the  number  of  gates  and  windows  therein. 
The  measure  of  it  in  the  length,  from  east  to  west,  is  200  paces 
(khatwali],  which  is  equivalent  to  300  ells;  and  the  measuie 
thereof  in  the  width,  from  the  Kiblah  to  the  middle  (of  the  north 
wall),  is  135  paces,  which  is  200  ells.  Its  area  in  Maghribi 
Marja's*  is  24  Marja's.  And  this  is  also  the  measurement  of  the 
Prophet's  Mosque  (at  Al  Madinah)  ;  except  that  in  this  last  the 
length  is  in  the  direction  from  north  to  south,  not  east  and  west, 
as  at  Damascus.  The  aisles  (bal&tati)  of  the  (Main-building  of  the) 
Mosque  adjoin  the  southern  side  of  the  court,  and  are  three  in 
number,  running  from  west  to  east.  The  breadth  of  each  aisle  is 
1 8  paces — each  pace  counting  as  i  J  ells — and  the  said  aisles  are 
supported  on  sixty-eight  columns.  Of  these,  fifty-four  are  pillars 
(that  stand  alone),  while  eight  are  pilasters  of  gypsum,  and  two 
are  built  of  marble,  and  are  set  into  the  wall  which  divides  the 
aisles  from  the  court.  The  remaining  four  columns  are  made  of 
most  exquisite  marble  set  in  with  colpured  stones  in  mosiac,  each 
stone  of  which  might  be  coveted  as  a  ring-stone.  Some  of  the 
Mihrabs  (prayer-niches),  and  other  buildings  in  the  widest  of  the 
naves,  are  also  most  beautifully  ornamented  and  proportioned. 
Such,  for  instance,  is  the  Dome  of  Lead  (Kubbat  ar  Kasa\\  and 
the  Dome  which  is  over  the  Mihrab.  The  piers  under  this  are 
16  spans  (shibr)  broad,  and  20  spans  across;  while  between  each 
of  the  piers  is  a  space  measuring  17  paces  in  the  length,  and  in 
the  breadth  13  paces.  Each  of  these  piers  measures  72  spans  in 

"  All  round  three  sides  of  the  court  is  a  colonnade  (balat). 
On  the  eastern,  western,  and  northern  sides  its  breadth  is  10  paces. 
The  number  of  its  columns  is  forty-seven,  of  which  fourteen  are 
pilasters  of  gypsum,  and  the  remainder  are  free-standing.  The 
breadth  of  the  court,  exclusive  of  the  portion  roofed  over  on  the 
south  and  on  the  north,  is  100  paces.  The  roofs  of  the  Mosque 
buildings,  externally,  are  all  covered  with  sheets  of  lead.  The 
most  magnificent  sight  in  this  Jami'  Mosque  is  the  Kubbat  ar 

*  The  Mat-ja  was  a  land -measure  in  use  throughout  Spain  and  the  Western 
Lands,  and  contained  about  seven  square  yards  of  superficies. 

1 6— 2 


Rasas  (the  Dome  of  Lead),  which  is  above  the  Mihrab  in  the 
centre  of  the  building.  Its  summit  towers  high  in  the  air,  of  a 
wonderful  circumference ;  so  that  it  would  seem  as  though  it  were 
a  great  temple.  A  central  nave  is  below  it,  going  from  the 
Mihrab  to  the  court ;  and  over  this  nave  (as  seen  from  the 
interior)  are  three  domes — namely,  the  dome  which  is  close  to  the 
Mosque  wall  towards  the  court ;  the  dome  which  is  over  and 
adjacent  to  the  Mihrab ;  and  the  dome  which  is  below  (that  is, 
forming  the  inner  skin  of)  the  Kubbat  ar  Rasas,  rising  between 
the  other  two.  The  Great  Dome  of  Lead  thus  broods  over  the 
void;  and,  as  you  approach,  you  perceive  an  admirable  effect. 
And  the  people  have  likened  it  to  a  flying  Eagle  (Nasr) — the 
Dome  itself  being  as  the  head ;  the  aisle  below  being  the  breast ; 
the  half  of  the  wall  of  the  right  aisle,  and  the  half  to  the  left, 
being  the  two  wings  of  the  Eagle.*  The  width  of  this  main  aisle 
leading  towards  the  court  is  30  paces.  The  people  are  wont  to 
name  this  part  of  the  Mosque  An  Nasr— 'the  Eagle' — on 
account  of  this  likeness.  From  whatever  quarter  you  approach 
the  city  you  see  this  Dome,  high  above  all  else,  as  though  sus- 
pended in  the  air.  The  Mosque  is  situated  on  the  northern  side 
of  the  city.  The  number  of  gilt  and  coloured  glass  windows 
(called  ShamasiyyaK]  in  the  Mosque  is  seventy-four.  In  the  inner 
dome,  which  is  below  the  Dome  of  Lead,  are  ten.  In  the  dome 
which  is  close  to  the  Mihrab  there  are,  together  with  those  in  the 
adjacent  wall,  fourteen  such  windows.  In  the  length  of  the  wall 
to  the  right  of  the  Mihrab,  and  to  the  left  of  it,  are  forty-four. 
In  the  dome  adjacent  to  the  wall  of  the  court  are  six.  In  the 
back  of  the  wall  towards  the  court  are  forty-seven  windows.! 

"There  are  in  the  Mosque  three  Maksurahs  (or  railed-in 
spaces).  The  Maksurah  of  the  Companions  (of  the  Prophet) — 
Allah  accept  them  ! — was  the  first  Maksurah  ever  constructed  in 
Islam,  and  it  was  built  by  the  Khalif  Mu'awiyah.  Opposite  the 
Mihrab  thereof,  on  the  right  of  him  who  faces  the  Kiblah  point, 

*  The  Great  Dome  is  itself  known  at  the  present  day  as  the  Kubbat  an  Nasr, 
the  Dome  of  the  Eagle. 

f  Making  altogether  121,  not  74  ;  the  last  47  are  presumably  not  counted 
as  in  the  Mosque. 


is  the  Iron  (late.  Mu'awiyah  used  to  enter  the  Maksurah 
through  this,  going  to  the  Mihrab.  Opposite  the  Mihrab,  on  the 
right,  is  the  Place  of  Prayer  of  Abu-d  Darda— Allah  accept 
him !  Behind  the  Maksurah  was  the  Palace  of  Mu'awiyah. 
This,  at  the  present  day,  is  the  Great  Bazaar  of  the  Coppersmiths, 
and  it  lies  contiguous  to  the  Kiblah  (or  south)  wall  of  the 
Mosque.  There  is  no  bazaar  to  be  seen  anywhere  finer  than 
this,  and  none  greater  in  length  and  in  breadth.  At  the  back  of 
this  bazaar,  again,  and  not  far  off,  is  the  Cavalry  House  (Dar  al 
Khail),  which  dates  from  the  same  early  epoch.  It  is,  at  the 
present  day,  let  out  to  tenants,  and  is  the  place  where  the 
cloth-makers  work.  The  length  of  the  Maksurah  of  the  Com- 
panions aforementioned  is  44  spans,  and  its  breadth  is  half  its 
length.  Near  by  it  on  the  west,  in  the  middle  of  the  Mosque,  is 
the  New  Maksurah  which  was  built  at  the  time  when  the  half  of 
the  original  edifice,  which  had  been  a  church,  was  incorporated 
into  the  Mosque  after  the  manner  previously  related.  In  this  Mak- 
surah is  the  Pulpit  of  the  Friday-Sermon,  and  the  Mihrab  of  the 
public-prayers.  The  Mihrab  of  the  Companions  was  originally 
in  the  centre  of  that  portion  of  the  church  which  belonged  to 
the  Muslims,  and  there  was  a  wall  of  separation,  which  started 
from  where  the  Mihrab  now  stands  in  the  New  Maksurah. 
When  the  whole  of  the  church  was  made  into  a  Mosque,  the 
Maksurah  of  the  Companions  thus  came  to  be  on  one  side  in  the 
.eastern  part ;  while  the  New  Maksiirah  was  erected  in  the  middle 
of  the  Mosque,  where  stood  the  wall  of  separation  before  the  two 
halves  were  united  into  one  area.  This  New  Maksurah  is  larger 
than  that  of  the  Companions.  Further  to  the  west,  facing 
the  wall,  is  another  Maksurah.  It  goes  by  the  name  of  Al 
Hanafiyyah ;  and  those  of  the  Hanafite  sect  assemble  here  for 
holding  their  lectures,  and  this  is  their  praying-place.  Opposite  to 
it  is  a  chapel  (Zawiyafi),  built  all  round  with'  lattices  of  wood,  as 
though  it  were  a  small  Maksurah.  On  the  eastern  side,  also,  is  a 
second  chapel  of  a  like  appearance,  and  resembling  a  Maksurah. 
It  was  erected  as  a  place  for  praying  in  by  one  of  the  Turkish 
Amirs  of  the  State.  It  lies  close  up  against  the  eastern  wall. 
"  There  are  in  the  Mosque  many  other  similar  chapels, 


which  the  scholars  (Talib)  use  as  places  wherein  to  sit  and  copy 
(the  Kuran)  and  for  lectures,  and  for  private  assemblies  •;  and  they 
are  among  the  advantages  this  Mosque  offers  to  students.  In  the 
wall  of  the  Main-building  of  the  Mosque,  towards  the  court,  which 
is  surrounded  by  the  colonnades,  there  are,  on  the  south  side  of 
the  court,  twenty  doors,  set  one  beside  the  other  in  the  length 
thereof.  The  upper  parts  of  these  are  ornamented  in  plaster  that 
is  stamped  out,  even  as  is  the  work  in  the  windows ;  and  the  eye 
beholding  the  row  of  them  will  deem  them  a  most  beautiful  sight. 
As  to  the  colonnades  that  surround  the  Court  on  the  other  three 
sides,  namely,  north,  east,  and  west,  these  are  supported  on 
columns,  and  above  the  columns  are  round  arches  resting  on 
smaller  columns,  and  these  go  all  round  the  Court.  This  Court 
is  one  of  the  finest  sights  that  can  be  seen.  There  is  always  therein 
a  concourse  of  the  people  of  the  town,  for  they  come  here  to  meet 
and  take  their  pleasure  of  conversation  every  eventide.  You  may 
see  them  there  coming  and  going,  from  east  to  west,  from  the  Bab 
Jairun  to  the  Bab  al  Barid,  walking  and  talking. 

"  The  Mosque  has  three  Minarets.  One  is  at  the  (south)  western 
side.  It  is  like  a  high  tower  resembling  a  spacious  dwelling 
divided  into  chapels.  These  are  locked  off,  for  the  Minaret  is 
inhabited  by  Maghribin  anchorites.  The  topmost  of  the  chambers 
was  the  retreat  of  Abu  Hamid  al  Ghazzali — Allah  have  mercy  on 
him  ! — and  at  the  present  day  it  is  inhabited  by  a  certain  anchorite 
called  Abu  'Abd  Allah.  The  second  Minaret  is  on  the  (south) 
eastern*  side,  and  is  of  the  same  description  with  the  last.  The 
third  is  on  the  northern  side,  rising  above  the  gate  called  Bab  an 
Natinyyin  (the  Gate  of  the  Sweetmeat-sellers).  In  the  Court  of 
the  Mosque  are  three  Cupolas.  The  one  in  the  western  part  is 
the  largest  of  the  three.  It  stands  on  eight  columns  of  marble, 
and  rises  like  a  bastion,  and  is  ornamented  with  mosaic,  and  all 
kinds  of  coloured  stones,  so  as  to  resemble  a  flower-garden  for 
beauty.  Over  it  is  a  leaden  dome,  like  a  great  round  oven-top. 
They  say  it  was  originally  the  Treasury  of  the  Mosque,  for  be  it 
known  the  Mosque  possesses  great  wealth,  and  has  lands  producing 
various  crops,  the  rent  equalling  in  amount,  as  I  have  been  told, 

The  MS.  read  "  western  ''  in  error. 


to  about  8,000  Dinars  Syrian  per  annum  (^4,000),  which  is 
15,000  Dinars  Muminiyyah,  or  thereabouts.  The  second  Cupola 
is  smaller,  and  stands  in  the  middle  of  the  Court.  It  is  hollow 
and  octagonal,  built  of  marble  blocks  fitted  most  wonderfully 
together.  It  is  supported  on  four  small  columns  of  marble,  and 
under  it  is  a  round  grating  of  iron,  in  the  centre  of  which  is  a 
copper  spout,  from  which  pours  a  water -jet  that  first  rises  and  then 
falls  again,  as  though  it  were  a  silver  wand.  The  people  are 
accustomed  to  put  their  mouths  thereto,  at  the  side,  and  drink 
therefrom.  It  is  very  beautiful,  and  is  called  the  Water  Cage 
(KrfsalMa).  The  third  Cupola  stands  on  the  eastern  side.  It 
is  supported  on  eight  columns,  like  the  large  cupola  (to  the  west), 
but  it  is  smaller. 

"  On  the  northern  side  of  the  Court  is  a  great  gateway  leading 
into  a  large  Mosque,  in  the  centre  of  which  is  a  court.  There  is 
here  a  tank  of  marble,  large  in  size,  and  through  it  water  is  con- 
tinually flowing.  An  octagonal  basin  of  white  marble,  which 
stands  in  the  middle  of  the  tank  is  supported  on  sculptured 
columns,  and  the  water  is  brought  from  the  tank  up  into  the  basin. 
This  Mosque  is  called  Al  Kallasah  (the  Lime  Furnace).  *  On 
the  eastern  side  of  the  Court  (of  the  Great  Mosque)  is  another 
gateway  leading  to  a  most  beautiful  Mosque,  most  magnificently 
planned  and  built,  which  the  Shi'ahs  say  is  the  shrine  (or  Mash- 
had)  of  the  Khalif  'Ali ;  but  this  is  one  of  the  most  extraordinary 
of  their  inventions. 

"  Another  of  their  wonderful  stories  is  what  is  related  of  a  chapel 
in  the  western  part  (of  the  Mosque  Court).  At  the  angle,  where 
the  northern  colonnade  joins  the  western,  is  this  chapel,  which  is 
covered  above  by  a  veil,  and  there  is  a  veil  also  in  front  hanging 
down.  They  say  this  is  the  place  of  'Ayishah  (the  wife  of  the 

*  The  Kallasah  was  the  Chalk-pit  or  Lime-kiln  to  the  north  of  the  Mosque, 
originally  ihe  place  where  the  lime  was  burnt  that  was  used  in  the  building. 
In  555  (1160)  Sultan  Niir  ad  Din  Zanki  built  a  college  on  this  ground,  and 
called  the  edifice  Al  Kallasah.  It  was  burnt  down  in  570  (1174),  together 
with  the  Madhanat  al  'Arus  (the  Minaret  of  the  Bride)  of  the  Great  Mosque 
near  it.  Saladin  afterwards  rebuilt  the  Kallasah.  and  himself  was  buried  to  the 
north  of  the  building,  in  a  mausoleum  which  still  exists.  See  Quatremere, 
Sultans  Mamlouks,  ii.  287. 


Prophet),  where  she  was  wont  to  sit  and  listen  to  the  Traditions. 
Thus  'Ayishah,  as  well  as  'Ali,  is  found  commemorated  in  Damas- 
cus. Now  as  to  'Ali,  there  may  be  some  authority  for  the  attribu- 
tion, for  it  is  reported  that  he  was  seen  by  a  person  in  a  dream, 
praying  here  in  the  very  place  where  the  Shi'ahs  have  built  their 
shrine.  But  as  for  the  place  that  is  called  after  'Ayishah,  there  is  no 
authority  for  it,  and  we  have  only  mentioned  it  as  being  celebrated 
in  the  descriptions  of  the  Great  Mosque.  Now  the  Kallasah 
Mosque  is  most  beautiful,  both  within  and  without,  and  there  are 
mosaics  of  gold,  worked  as  has  been  before  described.  The 
building  has  three  domes  side  by  side.  The  Mihrab  is  one  of  the 
winders  of  Islam  for  beauty,  admirably  built,  and  is  gilded 
throughout.  In  the  centre -part  of  this  Mosque  are  several  smaller 
Mihrabs  along  the  wall.  These  are  set  round  with  little  pillars  of 
a  twisted  pattern,  and  it  is  as  though  the  twist  had  been  made  in 
a  turning-lathe,  and  nothing  can  be  seen  more  beautiful.  Some 
are  red,  as  though  of  coral.  The  renown  of  the  Kiblah  (Niche) 
of  this  Mosque,  and  also  of  its  domes  and  its  windows  that  are 
gilt,  and  coloured,  is  beyond  report. 

"  But  to  return  to  the  Great  Mosque.  In  the  eastern  angle  of 
the  New  Maksurah,  in  the  Mihrab,  there  is  a  great  treasure- 
chamber,  in  which  is  kept  one  of  the  copies  (of  the  Kuran)  that 
belonged  to  the  Khalif  'Othman.  This  is  the  copy  that  was  sent 
into  Syria  (to  Mu'awiyah,  at  the  time  of  'Othman's  murder).  This 
treasury  is  opened  every  day  at  prayer-time,  and  the  people  gain  a 
blessing  by  touching  the  book,  and  by  looking  at  it,  and  many  go 
there  so  to  do. 

"  Now  the  Great  Mosque  has  four  gates.  The  southern  gate  is 
called  Bab  az  Ziyadah  (the  Gate  of  the  Addition).*  There  is  a 
great  hall,  broad,  and  with  mighty  columns  leading  from  it.  In 
this  are  the  shops  of  the  bead-sellers,  and  the  like  trades,  and  it  is 
a  fine  sight  to  see.  From  it  you  go  into  the  Dar  al  Kh^il  (the 
old  Cavalry  House  aforementioned) ;  and  on  the  left,  as  you  go 
out  through  this  gate,  is  the  Bazaar  of  the  Coppersmiths.  In  the 
old  time  this  was  the  Palace  of  the  Khalif  Mu'awiyah,  and  was 
called  Al  Khadra  (the  Green  Palace).  The  eastern  gate  of  the 
*  As  at  present,  see  p.  231, 


Mosque  is  the  largest  of  all  the  gates,  and  is  called  the  Bab  Jairun. 
The  western  gate  is  called  the  Bab  al  Barid  (the  Gate  of  the 
Post).  The  northern  gate  is  called  the  Bab  an  Natifiyyin  (the 
(  kite  of  the  Sweetmeat-sellers).  To  east  and  to  west  and  to  north 
of  these  gates  are  broad  halls,  and  each  of  these  leads  to  one 
of  the  great  gateways  which  were  (in  ancient  times)  the  entrances 
into  the  church,  and  these  halls  remain  standing  even  to  this 
present  day. 

"  The  finest  of  these  halls  is  that  which  adjoins  the  Bab  Jairun 
(or  eastern  gate  of  the  Mosque).  You  go  out  from  this  gate  into 
a  long  and  broad  portico,  in  the  front  part  of  which  are  five  door- 
ways, arched  over,  and  there  are  six  tall  columns  here.  To  the 
left  hand  of  this  is  a  large  and  finely-built  oratory  (Mash-hacl)  in 
which  was  kept  the  head  of  Al  Husain,  before  it  was  transported 
to  Cairo.  Opposite  to  this  is  a  small  mosque  called  after  the 
Khalif  'Omar  ibn  Abd  al  'Aziz.  In  the  oratory  there  is  running 
water.  In  front  of  the  portico  (of  the  Bab  Jairun)  are  steps 
whereby  you  go  down  to  the  hall.  This  last  is  like  a  great  fosse, 
and  leads  to  a  gateway  of  mighty  elevation,  with  sides  unwalled, 
but  set  all  round  with  columns  that  are  like  palms  for  height,  and 
like  mountains  for  firmness.  On  either  side  of  this  hall  are  set 
columns,  among  which  are  the  rows  of  shops  occupied  by  the 
perfumers  and  the  like.  Up  above  is  a  second  row  of  shops  and 
chambers  for  letting,  and  from  these  you  can  look  down  into  the 
hall.  All  round  and  about,  above  this,  is  the  terrace  roof,  where 
the  occupiers  of  the  chambers  and  the  shops  pass  the  night  (in  the 
summer- heats).  In  the  centre  of  the  hall  is  a  large  tank  rimmed 
round  with  marble  ;  and  over  it  is  a  dome  that  is  supported  on 
marble  columns.  Round  this  dome,  up  above,  is  a  border  of  lead 
that  is  very  broad,  and  the  dome  is  open  to  the  sky.  In  the 
middle  of  the  marble  tank  below,  is  a  spout  of  brass  which  throws 
up  water  with  great  force,  and  it  rises  into  the  air  for  a  man's 
height  or  more.  All  round  it  are  smaller  spouts  which  throw  up 
water  also,  so  that  the  whole  looks  like  the  branches  of  a  silver 
tree,  and  is  most  beautiful  to  watch. 

"On  your  right  hand,  coming  out  of  the  Bab  Jairun,  in  the  wall 
of  the  portico  fronting  you,  is  a  gallery,  which  has  the  form  of  a 


great  archway,  and  set  round  it  are  arches  of  brass,  in  which  open 
small  doors,  in  number  according  to  the  number  of  the  hours  of 
the  day.  Through  the  working  of  a  piece  of  mechanism,  when 
one  hour  of  the  day  is  passed,  there  fall  two  weights  of  brass  from 
the  mouths  of  two  falcons  fashioned  in  brass,  who  stand  above 
two  brazen  cups,  set  one  under  each  of  the  birds.  One  of  the 
falcons  is  below  the  first  of  the  doors,  and  the  second  below  the 
last  of  them.  Now  the  cups  are  perforated,  and  as  soon  as  the 
balls  have  fallen,  they  run  back  through  a  hole  in  the  wall 
to  the  gallery.  The  falcons  appear  to  extend  their  necks 
when  holding  the  balls,  leaning  towards  the  cups,  and  to  throw 
the  balls  off  with  a  quick  motion,  so  wondrous  to  see  that  one 
would'  imagine  it  was  magic.  With  the  falling  of  the  two  balls 
into  the  two  cups,  there  is  heard  a  sound  (as  of  striking)  a  bell ; 
and  thereupon  the  doorway,  which  pertains  to  the  hour  that  has 
elapsed,  is  shut  with  a  brass  door.  A  similar  action  goes  on  for 
each  of  the  hours  of  the  day ;  and  when  all  the  hours  of  the  day 
are  passed,  all  the  doors  are  shut.  When  all  the  (day)  hours  are 
passed,  the  mechanism  returns  to  its  first  condition.  For  the 
hours  of  the  night  tkey  have  another  mechanism.  It  is  this — in 
the  bow  of  the  great  arch,  which  goes  over  the  (small)  arches 
(with  the  doors),  just  mentioned,  are  twelve  circles  cut  out  in  the 
brass,  and  over  each  of  these  openings,  in  the  wall  of  the  gallery, 
is  set  a  plate  of  glass.  This  is  all  so  arranged  as  to  lie  behind  the 
doors  (for  the  day-hours)  above  mentioned.  Behind  each  glass  is 
a  lamp-glass,  in  which  is  water  set  to  run  for  the  space  of  one  hour. 
When  the  hour  is  past,  the  light  of  the  lamp,  coming  down, 
illumines  the  glass,  and  the  rays  shine  out  of  the  round  opening 
in  front  of  it,  and  it  appears  to  the  sight  as  a  red  circle.  This 
same  happens  to  each  circle  in  turn,  till  all  the  hours  of  the  night 
are  passed,  and  then  all  the  circles  have  red  light  in  them.  There 
are  eleven  workmen  (belonging  to  the  Mosque)  who  attend  to  this 
gallery,  and  keep  the  mechanism  in  order,  and  see  to  the  opening 
of  the  doors,  and  the  running  back  of  the  weights  into  their  proper 
places.  This  (piece  of  mechanism)  is  what  the  people  call  Al 

*  The  reading  of  the  word  is  uncertain,  it  is  probably  an  Arabic  corruption 
'//,  a  machine. 


"  The  hall  that  is  before  the  Western  Gate  (of  the  Mosque, 
called  Bab  al  Barid)  has  in  it  the  shops  of  the  greengrocers  and 
perfume-sellers,  and  there  is  here  the  market  where  they  sell 
flowers.  At  its  upper  end  is  a  great  gate,  to  which,  you  ascend 
by  steps,  and  it  has  columns  that  rise  high  in  the  air.  Below  the 
steps  are  two  water-tanks,  round  in  shape,  one  lying  to  the  right  and 
one  to  the  left.  Each  water-tank  has  five  spouts  which  pour  the 
water  into  a  long  trough  made  of  marble.  The  hall  at  the  North 
Gate  (of  the  Mosque,  called  Bab  an  Natifiyyin)  has  in  it  a  chapel 
(Zawiya/i)  that  stands  on  a  platform,  which  is  set  round  with  a 
wooden  lattice,  and  it  serves  as  a  house  for  the  school-teachers. 
To  the  right,  in  going  out  of  the  hall,  is  a  Cloister  (KhanikaJi) 
built  for  the  Sufis.  In  its  midst  is  a  cistern.  They  say  this 
Cloister  was  of  old  the  palace  of  the  Khalif  'Omar  ibn  'Abd  al 
Aziz  ;  but  we  shall  return  to  this  matter  later.  The  cistern  in  the 
centre  of  the  Cloister  has  water  running  through  it,  and  there  are 
here  latrines  with  running  water  in  the  cells.  On  the  right  hand 
as  you  go  out  (of  the  Great  Mosque,  by)  the  Bab  al  Barid,  is  the 
Madrasah  of  the  Shafi'ites.  In  its  centre  is  also  a  cistern  with 
water  running  therein,  and  there  are  likewise  latrines  here,  with 
water  running  through  them  as  above  described.  In  the  court 
(of  the  Great  Mosque),  between  the  cupolas  aforementioned,  are 
two  columns  set  some  distance  apart,  and  on  both  are  stands  of 
brass  of  considerable  height,  and  made  of  lattice-work,  cut  out  in 
the  most  beautiful  manner.  These  are  lighted  up  on  the  middle 
night  of  the  month  of  Sha'ban,  and  they  shine  as  though  they 
were  the  two  Pleiads.  The  concourse  of  the  people  of  the  city 
here  on  the  above-named  night  is  even  greater  than  is  seen  here 
on  the  night  at  the  close  of  the  fast-month  of  Ramadan. 

"  There  are  round  the  Mosque  four  water-tanks,  one  on  each 
side,  and  each  water-tank  is  like  a  great  palace  set  round  with 
chambers  for  latrines,  with  water  running  in  each.  In  the  length 
of  the  court  there  is  also  a  tank  of  stone,  and  down  all  its  length 
are  a  number  of  spouts  (for  the  ablution).  One  of  the  water-tanks 
aforesaid  is  in  the  hall  of  the  Bab  Jairun,  and  it  is  the  largest  of 
the  four,  and  there  are  here  over  thirty  chambers  (for  the  ablu- 
tion). And  besides  this  great  tank  there  are  here  two  large 


cisterns,  one  lying  at  a  distance  from  the  other,  and  the  circum- 
ference of  each  is  about  forty  spans,  with  the  water  spouting  in 
each.  The  second  great  tank  is  in  the  hall  of  the  Bab  an  Nati- 
fiyyin,  opposite  the  school.  The  third  is  on  your  left  as  you  go 
out  of  the  Bab  al  Barid  ;  and  the  fourth  on  your  right  going  out 
of  the  Bab  az  Ziyadah.  These  are  all  of  great  convenience  to 
strangers.  Further,  in  all  parts  of  the  city  are  found  water-tanks 
in  all  the  streets  and  bazaars  for  the  convenience  of  all  comers. 
Of  the  oratories  and  monuments  of  Damascus  is  the  shrine  of 
the  Head  of  John  (the  Baptist),  the  son  of  Zakariyyah.  The 
head  is  buried  in  the  Mosque  in  the  south  aisle,  facing  the  right- 
hand  corner  of  the  Maksurah  of  the  Companions.  There  is  over 
it  an  ark  of  wood,  set  round  with  columns,  and  above  hangs  a 
lamp  of  crystal,  concave  in  shape,  like  the  lid  of  a  pot.  It  is  not 
known  whether  this  is  of  'Irak,  or  of  Tyrian  glass,  or  perchance  it 
is  of  some  other  ware. 

"  Among  other  celebrated  sanctuaries  of  Damascus  is  the  birth- 
place of  Ibrahim  (Abraham).  This  is  shown  on  the  hillside  of 
Jabal  Kasiyun  at  a  village  called  Barzah.  Barzah  is  a  fine  village, 
and  the  mountain  is  a  blessed  one  from  all  time,  for  the  prophets 
have  all  ascended  it  to  pray  thereon.  Jabal  Kasiyun  lies  to  the 
north  of  the  city,  and  about  a  league  distant.  The  birthplace  (of 
Abraham)  is  a  cave,  long  and  narrow,  and  they  have  built  a 
mosque  and  a  high  minaret  over  it.  Abraham  used  to  view  the 
stars  from  the  cave,  also  the  sun  and  the  moon,  as  is  mentioned  in 
the  Kuran  (chapter  vi.,  verses  76-78).  There  are  seventy  thousand 
prophets  buried  here,  and  the  burial-grounds  lie  all  round.  In 
Jabal  Kasiyun,  and  lying  west  about  a  mile  or  more  from  the  cave 
of  the  birthplace  (of  Abraham),  is  a  cave  called  the  Cave  of  Blood, 
because  above  it  in  the  mountain  is  seen  the  blood  of  Abil  (Abel), 
whom  his  brother  Kabil  (Cain)  slew.  The  mark  of  the  blood 
comes  down  through  half  the  mountain  as  a  red  streak,  and  looks 
like  a  road  in  the  hillside.  There  is  a  mosque  here.  This  is  the 
place  from  which  Kabil  went  and  sought  his  brother  to  slay  him, 
and  afterwards  he  carried  his  body  into  the  cave.  Here,  it  is 
said,  Abraham,  Moses,  Jesus,  Lot,  Job,  and  the  Prophet 
(Muhammad)  all  made  their  prayers.  There  is  a  fine  mosque 


built  over  this  place,  to  which  you  ascend  by  steps.  It  is  like  a 
round  gallery,  and  a  trellis-work  of  wood  goes  round  it,  and  there 
are  chambers  here  for  visitors  to  sojourn  in.  It  is  opened  every 
Thursday,  and  lighted  up,  as  also  is  the  cave  below.  On  the 
summit  of  the  mountain  is  a  cave  called  after  Adam,  and  there  is 
a  building  here  too.  Down  at  the  foot  of  the  mountain  is  the 
cave  called  the  Cave  of  Famine,  for  seventy  prophets  died  there 
of  hunger.  They  had  one  loaf  among  them,  and  they  kept  passing 
it  from  one  to  another,  none  eating  of  it.  A  mosque  is  built  over 
this  place. 

"  At  the  summit  of  the  mountain,  and  above  all  the  gardens,  and 
lying  west  of  the  city,  is  the  hill  mentioned  in  the  Kuran  (chapter 
xxiii.,  verse  52)  as  the  place  where  the  Messiah  dwelt  with  His 
mother.  It  is  one  of  the  most  beautiful  of  places.  It  resembles 
a  high  castle ;  you  ascend  to  it  by  steps.  The  dwelling-place  (of 
the  Virgin)  is  a  small  cave  like  a  little  chamber.  Opposite  is  the 
place,  as  it  is  said,  where  Al  Khidr  (Elias)  prayed.  It  has  small 
iron  gates  ;  also  a  mosque  built  near  by,  and  a  tank  most  beauti- 
ful to  behold  with  the  water  pouring  down  into  it.  The  water 
falls  over  a  water-wheel  placed  in  the  wall,  and  flows  into  a  fine 
marble  basin  below.  Behind  it  are  latrines  with  running  water. 
This  hill  lies  above  the  gardens  before  mentioned,  through  which 
the  water  therefrom  runs,  forming  brooks.  The  water  divides 
into  seven  streams,  each  going  its  own  way ;  the  largest  of  these 
is  called  Thaura.  It  rises  above  the  hill,  and  has  'made  a  channel 
in  the  hard  rock,  forcing  its  way  through  a  place  like  a  tunnel.  A 
strong  swimmer  can  plunge  in  above,  and  come  out  below,  swim- 
ming right  under  the  hill.  To  do  this,  however,  is  very  dangerous. 
These  gardens  below  the  hill  lie  in  the  lands  to  the  west  of  the 
city,  and  they  are  most  beautiful  to  see.  To  the  west  of  the  city, 
also,  is  a  cemetery,  where  many  celebrated  people  are  buried  of 
the  Companions  of  the  Prophet  and  others.  The  Mash-had  called 
after  'Ali  is  here. 

"  The  Tombs  of  the  Khalifs  of  the  Omayyads  are  said  to  be 
those  lying  opposite  (the  city  gate  called)  the  Bab  as  Saghir,  close 
to  the  cemetery  aforementioned.  There  is  over  them  at  the 
present  day  a  building  which  is  used  for  travellers  to  sojourn  in. 


Among  the  celebrated  Oratories,  also,  is  the  Masjid  al  Akdam 
(the  Mosque  of  the  Footprints).  It  lies  at  a  distance  of  two 
miles  from  the  city,  and  to  the  south,  beside  of  the  high-road 
going  down  to  the  Hijjaz  and  Egypt.  In  this  Mosque  is  a  small 
chamber  in  which  is  an  inscription,  stating  that  a  certain  one  of 
the  Companions  saw  in  sleep  the  Prophet,  who  told  him  that  this 
was  the  tomb  of  the  brother  of  Moses.  A  hillock  of  red  sand 
may  be  seen  on  the  high-road  not  far  from  this  place,  and  it  lies 
between  (the  villages  of)  Ghaliyah  and  Ghuwailiyah.  The  people 
say  the  light  never  fades  from  this  blessed  place,  where  is  the 
tomb  aforesaid.  Now,  as  to  the  Footprints,  they  are  on  a  stone  in 
the  road,  with  a  sign-post  pointing  thereto,  and  you  find  a  foot- 
mark on  each  stone.  The  number  of  these  Footprints  is  nine. 
They  are  said  to  be  the  marks  of  Moses'  feet ;  but  Allah  alone 
knows  the  truth  of  this. 

"Damascus  city  has  eight  gates:  i.  Bab  Sharki,  the  Eastern 
Gate.  It  has  beside  it  the  White  Minaret  (or  tower),  on  which  they 
say  Jesus — peace  be  on  Him  ! — will  descend  when  He  comes  in 
glory ;  for  He  will  descend  at  the  White  Tower  (or  minaret)  to 
the  east  of  Damascus.  2.  Bab  Turna  (Gate  of  St.  Thomas),  next 
the  former.  It  also  opens  in  the  eastern  quarter.  3.  Bab  as 
Salamah,  next  thereto.  4.  Bab  al  Faradis,  to  the  north.  5.  Bab 
al  Faraj,  next  thereto.  6.  Bab  an  Nasr,  to  the  west.  7.  Bab  al 
Jabiyah,  likewise  to  the  west.  8.  Bab  as  Saghir,  opening  to  the 
south-west.  The  Great  Mosque  of  Damascus  lies  somewhat  in 
the  northern  part  of  the  city.  The  various  quarters  lie  all  round, 
and  are  of  great  extent,  except  in  the  north,  and  in  what  lies  to 
the  south,  where  the  houses  cover  a  smaller  area.  The  town  has 
a  long  shape ;  its  streets  are  narrow  and  dark.  The  houses  are 
built  of  mud  and  reeds,  one  story  above  another,  for  which 
reason  fire  catches  them  swiftly.  They  are  all  three  stories  high, 
and  this  is  necessitated  by  the  great  number  of  the  population ; 
for  there  are  amassed  here  in  Damascus  the  inhabitants  of  three 
towns,  and  it  is  the  most  populous  city  in  the  world.  Its  beauty 
is  all  external,  not  internal.  There  is  in  the  city  a  church  belong- 
ing to  the  Greeks,  and  by  them  greatly  venerated.  It  is  called 
the  Church  of  Mary  (Kanisah  Maryam),  and,  except  the  (Church 


at)  Jerusalem,  there  is  none  other  held  in  such  esteem  by  them. 
It  is  finely  built,  and  contains  many  wonderful  pictures.  The 
place  is  in  the  possession  of  the  Greeks,  and  no  one  molests  them 

"  Damascus  has  about  twenty  Madrasahs  (colleges),  and  there 
are  here  two  hospitals  (or  Maristans) — the  old  and  the  new.  The 
new  is  the  larger  and  better  built  of  the  two.  It  has  revenues 
amounting  to  about  15  Dinars  (^£7  los.)  a  day.  There  are 
physicians  to  attend  the  sick,  and  the  expenses  of  food  and 
medicines  are  provided.  The  old  Maristan  is  on  a  like  footing, 
but  more  people  go  to  the  new.  The  old  Maristan  is  situated  to 
the  west  of  the  Mosque.  One  of  the  finest  colleges  in  the  world 
is  the  Madrasah  of  Nur  ad  Din — Allah's  mercy  be  on  him  !  In 
it  is  his  tomb — may  Allah  illumine  it  !  It  is  a  palace  among 
palaces.  Water  runs  through  it,  and  falls  into  a  tank.  There  are 
also  in  the  city  many  cloisters  belonging  to  the  Sufis.  The 
greatest  that  we  saw  is  that  known  as  Al  Kasr,  very  high  built, 
and  beautiful.  Damascus  possesses  a  castle  (Kal'ah)  where  the 
Sultan  lives,  and  it  stands  isolated  in  the  modern  quarter  of  the 
city.  It  is  close  over  against  the  gate  called  Bab  al  Faraj,  and 
in  it  is  the  Sultan's  Mosque.  Near  the  castle,  outside  the 
town  towards  the  west,  are  two  Maidans  (horse-courses)  that  are 
like  pieces  of  silk-brocade  rolled  out,  for  their  greenness  and 
beauty.  The  river  flows  between  the  two  Maidans,  and  there  is 
a  grove  of  poplar-trees  extending  beside  them  most  beautiful  to 
behold.  The  Sultan  is  wont  to  go  out  there  to  play  the  game  of 
Mall  (As  Sawalijah\  and  to  race  his  horses  ;  and  nothing  can  be 
pleasanter  to  see  than  this.  Every  evening  the  Sultan's  sons  go 
out  there  to  shoot  with  the  bow,  and  to  race,  and  to  play  Mall. 
In  Damascus,  too,  are  nearly  one  hundred  Hammam's  (hot-baths), 
both  in  the  city  and  in  the  suburbs ;  and  there  are  nearly  forty 
houses  for  ablution  where  water  always  flows  ;  and  nowhere  is 
there  any  town  more  convenient  to  the  stranger. 

"The  markets  of  Damascus  are  the  finest  in  the  world, 
and  the  best  organized.  Especially  so  are  the  Kaisariyyahs,* 

*  The  word  Kais&riyyah  denotes  a  bazaar  for  merchants,  or  a  building,  like 
a  Caravanserai  for  the  storing  of  merchandise.  It  is  derived  from  the  Greek 


which  are  built  high  like  hospices,  and  closed  by  iron  gates  like  the 
gates  of  a  castle.  Each  Kaisariyyah  stands  isolated,  and  at  night 
it  is  shut  off.  There  is  also  a  market  called  the  Great  Market, 
which  extends  from  the  Bab  al  Jabiyah  to  the  Bab  ash  Sharki  (all 
along  the  Straight  Street).  There  is  here  a  small  house  that  has 
become  a  place  for  prayer.  In  the  south  part  of  it  is  a  stone  on 
which  they  say  Abraham  broke  the  idols  which  his  father  had 
brought  to  market  to  sell.  The  Palace  of  the  Khalif  'Omar  ibn 
'Abd  al  'Aziz  is  to-day  a  Cloister  for  the  Sufis.  It  stands  near 
the  Hall  of  the  North  Gate  (of  the  Great  Mosque),  called  Bab 
an  Natinyyin.  'Omar  bought  the  ground,  and  built  the  palace, 
and  ordered  that  he  should  be  buried  in  it,  and  that  they  should 
recite  prayers  there. 

"And  now  as  regards  the  ascent  to  the  top  of  the  Dome  of 
the  Great  Mosque,  which  rises  erect  in  the  midst  of  the  building. 
Verily  the  entrance  to  the  same,  and  into  the  interior  where  is  the 
inner  dome — like  a  sphere  within  a  larger  sphere — is  from  the 
Mosque.  We  ascended  thereto,  with  a  number  of  friends,  at  early 
dawn,  on  Monday,  the  i8th  day  of  the  First  Jumadi.  We  went  up 
by  a  ladder  in  the  western  colonnade  that  goes  round  the  court, 
at  a  place  where  had  been  a  tower  in  former  days,  and  walked 
over  the  flat  roof  of  the  Mosque.  The  roof  is  covered  with  large 
'  sheets  of  lead  (as  aforementioned),  the  length  of  each  sheet  being 
4  spans,  and  the  width  3  spans.  After  passing  over  the  flat  roof 
we  came  to  the  Dome,  and  mounted  into  it  by  a  ladder  set  there  ; 
and  doing  so  it  almost  happened  that  we  had  all  been  seized  with 
dizziness.  We  went  into  the  round  gangway,  which  is  of  lead, 
and  its  width  is  but  of  6  spans,  so  that  we  could  not  stand  there, 
fearing  to  fall  over.  Then  wre  hastened  on  to  the  entrance  into 
the  interior  of  the  Dome,  passing  through  one  of  the  grated 
windows  which  open  in  the  lead-work ;  and  before  us  was  a 
wondrous  sight.  We  passed  on  over  the  planking  of  great  wood 
beams  which  go  all  round  the  inner  and  smaller  dome,  which  is 

Kcttaapfia,  in  the  sense  of  the  Coesarian  (market)  ;  and  the  word  was  only  in 
use  in  those  Arab  countries  which  were  of  old  subject  to  the  Byzantines,  ,?.£., 
Syria,  Egypt,  and  Morocco.  In  the  further  East — Baghdad  and  Persia — the 
term  was  not  employed. 


inside  the  outer  I  .caclcn  Dome,  as  aforesaid,  and  there  are  here  two 
arched  windows,  through  which  you  look  down  into  the  Mosque 
below.     From  here  the  men  who  are  down  in  the  Mosque  look  as 
though  they  were  small  children.    This  dome  is  round  like  a  sphere, 
and  its  structure  is  made  of  planks,  strengthened  with  stout  ribs  of 
wood,  bound  with  bands  of  iron.     The  ribs  curve  over  the  dome, 
and  meet  at  the  summit  in  a  round  circle  of  wood.     The  inner 
dome,  which   is  that  seen   from   the  interior  of  the 'Mosque,  is 
inlaid  with  wooden  panels,  set  one  beside  the  other,  touching. 
They  are  all  gilt  in  the  most  beautiful  manner,  and  ornamented 
with  colour  and  carving.     Of  these  wooden  panels  which  cover 
the   interior  of  the  dome,  the   length  of  each    is    not   less  than 
6  spans,  with  a  breadth  of  4  spans ;  but  to  the  eye  below  they 
twinkle  like  points,  and  seem  to  be  only  one  or  two  spans  across, 
on  account  of  their  great  height  from  you.     The  Great  Leaden 
Dome   covers   this   inner   dome   that   has   just    been   described. 
It  also  is  strengthened  by  wooden  ribs  bound  with  iron  bands. 
The  number  of  these  ribs  is  forty-eight,  and  between  each  rib  is  a 
space  of  4  spans  :  the  whole  most  wonderfully  arranged.     The 
ribs  converge  above,  and  unite  in  a  centrepiece  of  wood.     The 
circumference   of    the    Leaden    Dome    is   80   paces,    which    is 
260  spans.     Under  the   Double   Dome   is   the   aisle  called  the 
Eagle  (An  Nasr),  stretching  out,  and  roofed  over,  leading  towards 
the    Maksurah.     This   part    is   all   ceiled  over,  and  ornamented 
with   plaster-work,  with    numberless  wooden    teams,  let   in,  and 
with  the  arches  below.     The  piers  supporting  the  Double  Dome 
are  let  into  the  walls.     And  in  these  walls  are  stones,  each  of 
which  weighs  a  full  Kantar  (or  about  325  Ibs.),  and  these  elephants 
could  not  move.     Most  wonderful  is  it  how  they  were  raised  to 
their  present  high  place,  and  this  by  human  power  only,  and  how 
man's  strength  was  capable  thereof.     The  Great  Double  Dome 
rests  on  a  circular  base  built  of  mighty  blocks,  above  which  rise 
short  and  thick  pilasters  built  up  of  large  stones  of  a  very  hard 
kind ;   and    between    every   two    pilasters  is    pierced   a  window. 
Thus  the  windows  extend  all  round  the  circle  under  the  dome. 
This  Double  Dome  appears  like  one  dome  to  the  eye  from  below; 
for  the  one  is  inside  the  other,  and  the  outer  dome  only  is  of  lead. 



Of  the  wonders  of  the  place  it  is  that  we  saw  no  spiders  in  the 
framework  of  the  domes,  and  they  say  there  are  none  here  at  all. 
Also  no  birds  of  the  species  of  swallows  ever  enter  the  Mosque. 
This  Dome  of  the  Damascus  Mosque  is  the  finest  in  the  world, 
except,  maybe,  the  Dome  of  the  Rock  at  Jerusalem,  which  is  said 
to  be  the  most  beautiful."  (I.  J.,  262-297.)  Ibn  Jubair  did  not, 
unfortunately,  visit  Jerusalem. 

Yakut,  writing  in.  1225,  devotes  many  pages  of  his  great  Geo- 
graphical Dictionary  to  the  subject  of  Damascus.  Besides  the 
chief  article,  there  are  numberless  minor  notices  scattered  up  and 
down  the  voluminous  work,  wherever,  in  the  alphabetical  arrange- 
ment, mention  occurs  of  some  one  of  the  Damascus  mosques  or 
gates  or  other  monuments.  Much  that  is  mentioned  is  copied 
from  earlier  geographers,  what  is  new  matter  is  epitomized  in  the 
following  pages  : 

"  Damascus,"  says  Yakut,  "  called  Dimishk,  or  Dimashk,  is  the 
capital  of  Syria,  and  it  is  the  Garden  of  the  Earth.  The  city 
was,  some  say,  so  called  because  it  was  said  Diniashkti,  '  they 
hastened,'  in  its  building.  I  )amascus  is  sometimes  referred  to  in 
poetry  by  the  name  Jillik.  According  to  some  this  is  the  name  of 
all  the  districts  taken  together  of  the  Ghautah.  According  to 
others,  Jillik  is  the  name  of  a  certain  village  in  the  Ghautah, 
where,  it  is  said,  there  was  the  statue  of  a  woman,  from  which 
water  poured  forth;  or  else  again  Jillik  is  the  City  of  Damascus 
itself."  (Yak.,  ii.  104;  Mar.,  i.  261.) 

"  Damascus  was  founded  by  Dimashik,  son  of  Kani,  great-grand- 
son of  Sam  (Shem),  son  of  Nun,  or  some  say  by  Buyutasf.  It  was 
founded  at  the  end  of  the  year  3145  of  the  Creation.  The  age  of 
the  world  is,  they  say,  to  be  of  7,000  years.  Abraham  the  Friend, 
was  born  five  years  after  its  founding.  Others  say  Damascus 
was  built  by  Jairun  ibn  Sa'ad  ibn  'Ad,  grandson  of  Shem,  who 
called  it  Iram  dhat  al  'Amud  (Irani  of  the  Columns).  The  pro- 
phet Hud  dwelt  here,  and  he  built  the  wall  to  the  south  of  the 
Jami'  Mosque.  Another  tradition  is  that  Al  'Azar,  Abraham's 
servant,  built  Damascus.  By  another  tradition  Dimashik,  Filastin 
(Palestine),  Ailiya  (^Elia,  Jerusalem),  Hims  and  Al  Urdunn  (the 
Jordan),  were  all  sons  of  Iram,  son  of  Shem,  son  of  Noah. 


"  Adam,  they  say,  lived  at  Bait  Anat,  and  Eve  at  Bait  Libya ; 
Abel  (Hcibil)  at  Mukra  with  his  flocks,  and  Cain  (Kabil)  at  Kaninah 
in  the  midst  of  his  fields.  All  these  places  lie  round  Damascus. 
At  the  place  in  the  Jami'  Mosque,  now  occupied  by  the  gate  called 
the  Bab  as  Sa'at,  is  a  large  stone,  whereon  in  ancient  days  Cain 
and  Abel  laid  their  offerings.  If  these  were  accepted  (of  the  Lord) 
fire  was  wont  to  descend  to  consume  them,  but  if  they  were  not 
acceptable  (the  offerings)  remained  untouched.  Now  Abel  had 
come  with  a  fat  ram  of  his  flock,  and  he  placed  it  on  the  stone, 
and  the  fire  came  down  and  burnt  it  up.  Then  came  Cain,  with 
wheat  of  his  crops,  and  placed  it  also  on  the  stone,  but  it  remained 
in  its  (unburnt)  condition.  So  Cain  envied  his  brother,  and  he 
followed  him  to  the  mountain,  which  overlooks  the  plain  of 
Damascus,  and  is  now  known  as  Jabal  Kasiyun ;  and  he  wished 
to  slay  him,  but  did  not  know  how  to  accomplish  the  deed.  Then 
Iblis  (Satan)  came  to  him,  and  took  up  a  stone  and  began  to 
strike  his  head  therewith.  And  when  (Cain)  saw  this,  he  took  a 
stone  and  struck  therewith  the  head  of  his  brother  Abel,  and  thus 
slew  him  there  on  Jabal  Kasiyun.  I,  Yakut,  have  seen  there  a 
stone  on  which  was  a  mark  like  blood,  and  the  people  of  Syria  say 
that  this  is  the  stone  with  which  Cain  slew  Abel,  and  that  this  red 
mark  that  is  on  it  is  the  mark/of  Abel's  blood.  In  front  of  the 
stone  is  a  cave,  which  is  good  to  visit.  It  is  called  the  Cave  of 
the  Blood  from  this  reason ;  and  I,  myself,  have  made  visitation 
there,  on  the  slope  of  the  mountain  called  Jabal  Kasiyun.  Ac- 
cording to  some,  Damascus  was  the  site  of  Noah's  dwelling-place, 
and  he  took  the  wood  for  the  ark  from  the  Lebanon  Mountains. 
Further,  he  entered  into  the  ark  at  the  place  called  'Ain  al  Jarr,  of 
the  Bika'  District.  Some  say  that  Abraham,  too,  was  born  at  a 
village  in  the  Ghautah  of  Damascus,  called  Barzah,  lying  in  the 
Jabal  Kasiyun.  According  to  a  tradition  of  the  Prophet,  Jesus — 
peace  be  on  Him  ! — will  descend  (on  the  Last  Day)  upon  the 
White  Minaret  to  the  east  of  Damascus,  which  is  in  the  Mosque 
beside  the  Eastern  Gate,  called  Bab  ash  Sharki. 

"  Wonderful  is  the  water-supply  of  Damascus,  and  the  public 
fountains  are  innumerable.  The  suburbs  without  the  walls  are 
equal  to  the  town  itself  in  extent.  Damascus  was  first  conquered 



in  the  month  Rajab  of  the  year  14.  Khalid  stormed  through  the 
Eastern  Gate,  and  met  Abu  'Ubaidah,  who  had  made  a  capitula- 
tion with  the  inhabitants,  and  had  entered  the  city  in  company 
with  the  other  commanders  through  the  three  Western  Gates  of 
the  city.  The  Mosque  of  Damascus  verily  is  the  most  beautiful 
building  in  the  world.  It  was  built  by  the  Khalif  al  Walid  ibn 
'Abd  al  Malik,  who  was  much  addicted  to  the  building  of  mosques. 
The  building  was  begun  in  the  year  87,  or  88  as  some  say.  Now, 
when  it  was  Al  Walid's  intention  to  build  it,  the  Khalif  brought 
together  the  Christians  of  Damascus,  and  said  to  them,  *  We  wish 
to  increase  our  Mosque  by  your  Church,  that  is  to  say,  the  Church 
of  Yuhanna  (John),  and  we  will  give  you  another  church  where- 
soever ye  will ;  or  if  ye  will,  we  will  double  you  what  would  be  the 
price  of  the  land.'  But  the  Christians  refused,  and  they  brought 
the  Treaty  of  Khalid  ibn  al  Walid,  and  the  promise  (he  had  given 
them).  And  they  said  further  :  *  Verily,  we  have  found  in  our 
books  that  if  any  demolish  this  (Church)  he  shall  choke  to  death.7 
Then  cried  out  Al  Walid  unto  them  :  '  I  am  he  who  will  be  the 
first  to  demolish  it !'  And  standing  up,  he  began  to  demolish  the 
yellow  cupola  which  was  above  the  place  where  he  sat,  and  the 
Muslims  round  him  did  the  like.  Thus  the  Khalif  increased  the 
size  of  the  Mosque  as  he  had  desired.  And  so  much  material 
was  gathered  together  for  the  building  that  it  was  impossible  to 
use  it  all,  and  the  expenditure  of  monies  was  thus  lightened  unto 
him.  The  Khalif  al  Walid  built  four  gates  to  the  Mosque.  To 
its  east,  Bab  Jairun  ;  to  its  west,  Bab  al  Barid  ;  to  its  south,  Bab 
az  Ziyadah ;  with  the  Bab  an  Natifaniyyin  (or  Gate  of  the  Syrup- 
sellers)  lying  opposite  thereto.  And  the  Bab  al  Faradis  (the  Gate 
of  the  Gardens)  was  in  the  hinder  part  to  the  south. 

"  Ghaith  ibn  'Ali  al  Atmanazi  relates  that  Al  Walid  ordered 
them  to  search  down  in  the  fosse  for  the  ancient  foundation  of  the 
walls  of  the  original  building.  And  while  they  were  digging  they 
discovered  a  wall  of  masonry  running  in  the  direction  of  the  fosse 
and  along  it.  They  reported  to  Al  Walid  of  this,  and  informed 
him  of  the  solidity  of  the  masonry  of  this  wall,  asking  for  permis- 
sion to  build  (the  Mosque  wall)  upon  it.  But  the  Khalif  answered : 
'  I  should  agree  thereto  were  I  indeed  assured  in  the  matter  of  the 


solidity  thereof,  and  of  the  firmness  of  its  foundations  ;  only  I 
cannot  be  convinced  of  the  solidity  of  this  wall  until  ye  have  dug 
down  along  its  face  till  ye  reach  moisture.  If  then  it  be  found  still 
firmly  based,  I  am  content  that  ye  build  on  it,  otherwise  leave  it 
side.'  So  they  dug  on  down  along  the  face  of  the  wall,  and  found 
a  gate,  over  which  was  a  slab  of  granite,  on  which  was  cut  an 
inscription.  Every  endeavour  was  made  to  get  this  read,  till  one 
was  found  who  told  them  that  the  writing  was  in  the  Greek  tongue. 
Now  the  interpretation  of  this  inscription,  which  was  on  the  face 
of  the  (slab)  was  as  follows  : 

"  After  the  world  hath  renewed  its  youth,  the  signs  having  been 
manifested  of  what  is  to  come  to  pass,  it  is  necessary  there  be  a 
renewal  thereof ;  even  as  have  foretold  those  aged  in  life  and  stricken 
in  years.  And  the  ivorship  of  the  Creator  of  created  things  shall  be 
instituted  here,  w  \en  the  lover  of  hcrses  commands  the  building  of 
this  Temple  of  his  own  monies ;  and  this  shall  be  after  the  passing 
of  seven  thousand  and  nine  hundred  years  since  the  days  of  the 
People  of  the  Column.  And  if  the  builder  live  to  enter  therein, 
the  building  will  be  named  as  the  best  of  acts.  And  so  to  ye  all, 
Peace  ! 

"  Now  the  '  People  of  the  Columns '  (Ahl  al  Ustuwan)  were  a 
sect  of  the  ancient  philosophers  who  lived  of  old  at  Ba'albakk. 

"They  relate  that  Al  Walid  spent  on  the  building  (of  the 
Mosque)  the  revenues  of  the  Empire  for  seven  years.  And  when 
they  brought  him  the  accounts  of  what  had  been  spent  on  it, 
carried  on  the  backs  of  ten  camels,  he  ordered  that  all  should  be 
burnt,  and  would  not  look  at  any  of  them,  saying  :  '  These  sums 
we  have  laid  out  for  Allah's  sake,  and  verily  we  will  not  take  any 
count  of  them.'  Of  the  wonders  of  the  Mosque  it  may  be  told 
that  if  a  man  were  to  sojourn  here  a  hundred  years,  and  pondered 
each  day  on  what  he  saw,  he  would  see  every  day  something  he 
had  not  seen  in  former  days,  namely,  of  the  beauty  of  the  work- 
manship and  choice  things  set  here.  They  relate  that  the  total  of 
the  price  of  the  cabbages  that  the  workmen  ate  (during  the  building) 
was  6,000  Dinars  (^3,000).  Now  at  one  time  the  people 
murmured  at  the  great  sums  that  the  Khalif  expended,  saying 
that  he  had  taken  the  public  treasure  of  the  Muslims,  and  had 


spent  it  on  what  was  not  worthy  of  the  spending.  Then  the 
Khalif  went  into  the  pulpit  of  the  Mosque,  and  spake  to  them, 
saying,  '  It  hath  come  to  me  that  ye  say  so  and  such  things  ;  now 
verily  in  your  Treasury  there  is  a  sum  equivalent  to  eighteen  years' 
revenue,  to  which  ye  have  none  of  you  contributed  a  single  grain  of 
corn.'  And  the  people  kept  silence  hereafter,  and  said  naught.  It  is 
said  the  work  lasted  nine  years,  and  that  during  this  time  10,000 
men  worked  daily  at  the  cutting  of  marble.  There  were  (in  the 
Mosque)  600  chains  of  gold.  When  the  whole  was  finished  Al 
Walid  ordered  that  it  should  be  roofed  with  lead.  And  they 
brought  lead  from  all  lands  to  accomplish  this,  but  at  the  last  a 
piece  (of  the  roofing)  remained,  for  which  they  could  find  no  lead, 
except  some  that  belonged  to  a  certain  woman,  and  she  refused  to 
sell  it  except  for  its  weight  in  gold.  And  the  Khalif  commanded 
them  to  buy  it  of  her,  even  though  it  were  (at  the  price  of)  double 
the  weight  in  gold.  And  they  did  so.  But  when  she  was  to 
receive  the  price,  she  said  :  '  Verily  I  had  imagined  our  master 
was  a  tyrant  in  accomplishing  this,  his  building  ;  but  now  I  have 
seen  his  justice,  and  I  bear  witness  to  you  before  Allah  of  the 
same.'  And  she  returned  to  them  the  price.  When  Al  Walid 
knew  of  this  he  commanded  that  they  should  inscribe  on  the  (lead) 
plates  which  she  had  given,  the  words,  *  This  belongs  to  Allah? 
ordering  further  that  they  should  not  set  them  among  those  that 
bore  his  name.  It  is  said  they  spent  on  the  ornament  of  the 
Vine,  that  is  on  the  Kiblah  side  of  the  Mosque,  70,000  Dinars 

"  Musa  ibn  Hammad  al  Barbari  relates  that  he  saw  in  the 
Mosque  of  Damascus  an  inscription  in  gold  on  the  glass  (of  the 
window),  where  was  written  the  Chapter  (cii.  of  the  Kuran), 
being  the  words,  '  The  desire  of  increasing  riches  occupieth  you, 
till  ye  come  to  the  grave,'  will)  the  verses  that  follow  down  to  the 
end  of  the  chapter.  And  he  saw  a  red  jewel  that  was  set  in  the 
letter  K  that  formed  part  of  the  word  Al  MakCibir  ('  the  grave  '), 
one  of  the  words  of  that  verse  of  the  Kuran,  and  he  inquired  the 
reason  thereof.  It  was  told  him  that  Al  Walid  had  a  daughter 
to  whom  this  jewel  had  belonged,  and  that  when  she  died, 
her  mother  had  ordered  that  this  jewel  should  be  buried  with 


her  in  her  grave.  But  the  Khalif  gave  command  on  the  matter, 
and  they  set  it  in  the  K  of  the  word  Makdbir  of  the  verse  afore- 
said. And  he  afterwards  assured  the  girl's  mother  that  he  had  set 
it  in  '  the  grave,'  and  she  was  confounded  and  silent  when  she  saw 
what  had  been  done.  A  certain  writer  of  past  times  states  that 
the  Mosque  was  originally  built  with  two  rows,  of  marble  columns, 
one  above  the  other,  the  lower  row  being  large  columns,  and 
those  above  being  smaller ;  and  the  space  between  the  two  rows 
was  filled  by  pictures  representing  every  town  and  tree  in  the 
world  in  Mosaic  of  gold  and  green  and  yellow.  Over  the  Kiblah 
side  of  the  Mosque  is  the  dome  called  Kubbat  an  Nasr  (the  Eagle's 
Dome),  and  there  is  nothing  in  all  Damascus  finer  or  higher  than 
the  sight  to  be  obtained  from  it.  Now  the  Mosque  of  Damascus 
continued  in  the  splendour  and  magnificence  we  have  described 
until  there  befell  the  fire  of  the  year  461  (1069),  when  much  of  its 
beauty  was  destroyed. 

"Of  old  times,  when  'Omar  ibn  'Abd  al  Aziz  came  to  the 
Khalifate  (in  the  year  717  A.D.),  he  said:  'I  consider  the  wealth 
that  is  in  the  Mosque  at  Damascus  to  be  of  excess,  and  if  it  were 
expended  on  other  matters  it  would  be  more  fitting.  Verily,  that 
which  may  be  spared  should  be  taken  and  returned  to  the  public 
treasury.  And  I  will  strip  off  these  marbles  and  mosaics,  and  I 
will  take  away  these  chains,  setting  in  their  stead  ropes.'  Now  the 
people  of  Damascus  were  greatly  perturbed  thereat ;  and  at  this 
same  time  it  so  happened  that  there  arrived  at  Damascus  ten 
ambassadors  from  the  king  of  the  Greeks,  and  they  begged  per- 
mission to  enter  and  visit  the  Mosque.  Permission  was  granted 
them  to  enter  by  the  Bab  al  Barid,  and  a  certain  attendant  was 
sent  to  accompany  them  who  knew  their  tongue,  in  order  to  listen 
to  their  words,  and  report  what  they  should  say  to  'Omar,  they 
knowing  nothing  thereof.  The  envoys  passed  through  the  court 
until  they  came  in  front  of  the  Kiblah,  and  they  raised  their  eyes 
to  look  at  the  Mosque.  Then  their  chief  began  to  hang  his  head, 
and  his  colour  became  yellow,  and  when  his  companions  inquired 
of  him  the  reason,  he  replied,  '  Verily,  I  had  told  the  assemblies 
of  the  people  of  Rumiyyah  (Byzantium)  that  the  Arabs  and  their 
power  would  remain  but  a  brief  space  ;  but  now,  when  I  see  what 


they  have  built,  I  know  that  of  a  surety  their  (dominion)  will 
reach  to  length  of  days.'  When  'Omar  heard  report  of  this,  he 
said,  *  I  now  perceive  that  this  your  Mosque  is  a  source  of  rage 
to  the  infidels,'  and  he  desisted  from  doing  what  he  had  intended 
therein.  And  'Omar  had  before  this  studded  the  Mihrab  with 
jewels  of  great  price,  and  he  afterwards  hung  up  here  lamps  both 
of  gold  and  of  silver. 

"  In  the  Jami'  Mosque  is  the  chapel  (Zawiyah)  of  Al  Khidr 
(Elias).  There  is  also  preserved  here  the  head  of  Yahya  ibn 
Zakariyya  (John  the  Baptist),  also  the  Kuran  of  'Othman  the 
Khalif.  According  to  some,  the  Prophet  HCid  is  buried  here; 
but  of  this  there  is  question.  Under  the  great  dome  of  the 
Kubbat  an  Nasr  are  two  columns  of  variegated-coloured  marble, 
which  they  say  are  of  the  Tabernacle  of  Bilkis  (Queen  of 
Sheba) ;  but  Allah  alone  knows  best  the  truth.  The  western 
minaret  of  the  Mosque  is  that  where  Al  Ghazzali  (the  great  theo- 
logian) used  to  pray.  They  say  this  minaret  was  of  old  a  fire- 
temple,  and  that  a  flame  of  fire  rose  from  it  into  the  air.  The 
ancient  people  of  the  Hauran  made  their  worship  here.  The 
eastern  minaret  is  called  Al  Manarah  al  Baida  (the  White  Minaret), 
and  upon  it  they  say  that  Jesus,  Son  of  Mary — peace  be  upon 
Him ! — will  descend  (at  the  Judgment  Day).*  There  is  shown 
here  a  stone  which  they  say  is  a  fragment  of  the  rock  which  Moses 
struck,  and  from  which  there  flowed  forth  twelve  springs.  They 
relate  further,  that  the  minaret  on  which  Jesus — peace  be  upon 
Him !  —  will  descend  is  that  which  stands  near  the  Kanisah 
Maryam  (Mary  Church)  at  Damascus.  In  the  (court  of  the) 
Mosque,  the  western  cupola,  known  as  the  Treasury,  is,  they  say, 
the  tomb  of  'Ayishah  (the  wife  of  the  Prophet) ;  but  her  tomb  is 
in  reality  at  the  Baki'  Cemetery  (at  Al  Madinah).  At  the  south 
gate  of  the  Jami',  called  the  Bab  az  Ziyadah,  is  hung  up  a  piece 
of  a  lance,  said  to  have  been  that  of  Khalid  ibn  Al  Walid.  At 
Damascus,  also,  are  the  tombs  of  Mahmud  ibn  Zanki ;  also  of 
Saladin,  namely,  in  the  Kallasah  Mosque  near  the  Jami'  (besides 
many  others  too  numerous  to  mention)."  (Yak.,  ii.  587-597.) 

The  story  of  the  complaint  laid  before  the  Khalif  'Omar  ibn 

*  The  same  tradition  is  given  of  the  mir.aret  at  the  eastern  city-gate.     See 
pp.  254,  259. 


'Abel  al  'Aziz  by  the  Christians  of  Damascus  (see  above,  p.  260) 
is  somewhat  differently  related  in  the  Chronicle  of  Ibn  al  Athir. 
He  writes  : 

"  When  'Omar  ibn  'Abd  al  'Aziz  came  to  be  Khalif,  the  Chris- 
tians complained  to  him  of  the  wrong  done  to  them  ;  but  the 
Khalif  retorted  on  them,  '  Most  certainly  what  lay  outside  the  city 
was  taken  by  assault,  and  yet  we  gave  back  to  you  one  of  your 
churches  there.  We  will,  therefore,  now  destroy  the  church  of 
Tuma  (St.  Thomas),  for  was  it  not  taken  by  assault  ?  and  we  will 
turn  it  into  a  mosque.'  Then  the  Christians  answered  him,  *  Nay, 
rather  in  fear  of  this,  we  give  up  to  thee  the  great  Mosque,  and  do 
thou  leave  us  in  peaceful  possession  of  the  church  of  Tuma.' " 
(Ibn  al  Athir,  v.  5.) 

Dimashki,  writing  about  the  year  1300,  has  the  following : 

"  Damascus  is  called  also  Jillik  and  Al  Khadra  (the  green),  and 
Dhat  al  'Amud  (the  Columned).  The  mosque  here  is  one  of  the 
wonders  of  the  world.  On  the  middle  night  of  the  month  of 
Sha'aban  they  light  in  it  twelve  thousand  lamps,  and  burn  fifty 
Damascus  Kintars-weight  of  olive-oil,  and  this  not  counting  what 
is  consumed  in  the  other  edifices,  such  as  the  colleges,  mosques, 
tombs,  convents,  cloisters,  and  hospitals.  The  walls  of  the 
Mosque  are  faced  with  marble  after  the  most  exquisite  manner 
ever  seen,  and  above  are  mosaics  in  coloured  glass  and  gold  and 
silver.  The  length  of  the  Mosque  from  east  to  west  is  282  ells, 
and  the  width  is  220  (or  210)  ells.  The  roof  is  covered  with 
sheets  of  lead.  Damascus  consists  in  reality  of  three  towns. 
First  there  come  the  palaces,  gardens,  and  orchards  in  the  Ghutah, 
sufficient  to  form  a  large  town  by  themselves ;  then,  second,  are 
the  underground  water-courses ;  and  third,  the  houses  of  the  city 
itself.  The  gardens  of  Damascus  number  one  hundred  and 
twenty-one  thousand  ;  all  are  watered  by  a  single  river  which 
comes  down  from  the  country  near  Az  Zabadani,  and  the  Wadi 
Barada.  The  springs  coming  down  from  the  heights  above  the 
Wadi  and  the  waters  from  the  'Ain  al  Fijah  come  together  and 
form  a  single  river  called  the  Barada,  which  below  divides  into 
seven  streams,  each  called  by  its  own  name. 

"The  first  is  the  Nahr  Yazid,  which  was  dug  by  the  Khalif 


Yazid  ibn  Mu'awiyah,  and  called  after  him.  The  second  is  the 
Nahr  Thaurah,  which  was  dug  by  one  of  the  kings  of  the  Greeks 
of  that  name.  The  third  is  the  Nahr  Balniyas  (or  Banas),  dug  by 
Balniyas  (Pliny)  the  Greek  philosopher,  and  called  after  him. 
The  fourth  is  the  Nahr  al  Kanawat  (of  the  Water-conduits). 
These  last  two  flow  to  the  outer  districts  of  the  city,  and  there 
divide  up  into  small  water-courses  and  underground  channels 
serving  the  baths  and  places  for  ablution.  The  fifth  is  the  Nahr 
Mizzah,  being  called  after  the  village  of  Al  Mizzah,  which  is  also 
called  Al  Manazzah  (meaning  the  Pure),  on  account  of  the  salubrity 
of  its  climate,  the  purity  of  its  water,  the  beauty  of  its  palaces, 
the  excellence  of  its  fruits,  and  the  abundance  of  its  roses  and 
other  flowers.  It  is  here  they  make  the  celebrated  rose-water  of 
Damascus;  and  this  rose-water  of  Al  Mizzah  is  exported  to  all 
the  countries  of  the  South,  such  as  the  Hijjaz,  and  beyond  to 
India  and  China.  As  an  example  of  the  price  this  rose-water 
fetches  in  the  market,  it  is  reported  that  the  chief  Kadi  of  the 
Hanifites,  with  his  brother  Al  Hariri,  possessed  a  plot  of  land 
called  Shaur  az  Zahr  (the  Flower-garland)  measuring  no  paces  by 
75,  and  they  sold  of  its  crop  20  Kintars-weight  (of  rose-leaves)  for 
22,000  Dirhams  (or  about  6,500  Ibs.  for  ^"880)  in  the  year  665 
(1267) ;  but  nothing  equal  to  this  has  been  heard  of  since. 

"  The  sixth  river  is  the  Nahr  Darayya ;  its  upper  course  is  an 
affluent  (of  the  Baradaj,  and  below,  it  divides  (from  the  Barada 
again).  Darayya  is  a  village  with  very  rich  crops  and  lands. 
There  are  here  the  tombs  of  Abu  Muslim  al  Khaulani,  and  of 
Abu  Sulaiman  ad  Darani.  The  seventh  river  is  the  Barada  itself, 
the  main  stream  of  which  runs  down  the  bed  of  the  Wadi.  It 
receives  affluents  in  its  upper  course,  and  below  there  branch  from 
it  all  the  six  abovementioned  rivers ;  and  these  rivers  again 
divide  up  into  channels  and  water-courses  that  irrigate  all  the 
lands  of  the  Ghutah,  so  that  there  is  no  part  of  its  territory  where 
the  water  does  not  attain.  The  irrigation  continues  night  and 
day,  and  according  to  fixed  measures  and  lines,  and  the  volume 
of  water  neither  increases  nor  decreases.  The  main  stream  of 
the  Barada  continues  on  eastward  of  the  city,  watering  villages 
and  domains  and  lands,  both  fertile  and  barren,  till  it  ultimately 


falls  into  the  lake  to  the  east  of  Damascus  in  the  district  of 
'Adhra,  in  which  are  many  reeds.  Another  river  (of  Damascus) 
is  called  Al  A'waj,  and  it  also  falls  into  this  same  lake.  It 
becomes  a  large  river  at  the  time  of  the  melting  of  the  snows, 
when  many  small  streams  join  it."  (Dim.,  193-198.) 

Abu-1  Fida,  writing  a  few  years  after  Dimashki,  gives  the  follow- 
ing description  of  the  lake  lying  to  the  east  of  Damascus,  into 
which  the  rivers  drain  : 

"Buhairah  Dimashk  (the  lake  of  Damascus)  lies  to  the  west, 
or  rather  north-west,  of  the  city  in  the  Ghautah  ;  the  overflow  of 
the  Barada,  and  of  the  other  streams,  falls  into  it.  In  the  winter 
this  lake  spreads  out,  so  that  the  people  (on  its  banks)  have  no 
need  to  use  the  irrigation-canals  ;  in  the  summer  the  waters  shrink 
up.  It  has  lowlands  full  of  reeds,  which  form  a  useful  and  cele- 
brated hiding-place  from  the  enemy."  (A.  F.  40.) 

The  same  author  continues  :  "  Muhallabi  says  that  he  found  on 
one  of  the  pillars  of  the  Mosque  at  Damascus  an  inscription, 
which  set  forth  the  following :  Damaskiytis  built  this  House  to  the 
God  of  Gods  Ziyush.  And  he  adds,  Damaskiyus  is  the  name  of 
the  king  who  built  the  city,  and  Ziyush  (Zeus)  is  translated  into 
Arabic  by  Al  Mushtari  (Jupiter)."  (A.  F.,  230.) 

The  traveller  Ibn  Batutah  spent  some  months  in  Damascus 
during  the  year  1326.  He  gives  in  his  Diary  a  long  description 
of  the  city  and  its  chief  monuments,  inserting  copious  quotations 
from  Ibn  Jubair  and  previous  writers.  The  more  important 
passages  only  are  here  translated,  and  these  show  us  what  the 
Mosque  was  in  the  fourteenth  century,  just  before  its  destruction 
by  fire  at  the  time  of  Timur's  conquest  : 

"The  Mosque  of  Damascus  was  first  built  by  Al  Walid  ibn 
'Abd  al  Malik,  and  artificers  were  sent  from  the  King  of  Ar  Rum 
for  the  purpose.  Originally  it  was  a  church,  which  the  Muslims 
took  from  the  Christians  by  force.  The  Mosque  was  ornamented 
with  mosaics  in  gold,  and  in  various  colours,  called  Fusaifasah. 
The  length  of  the  Mosque  from  east  to  west  is  200  paces,  which 
is  300  ells  ;  its  width  from  the  Kiblah  to  the  north  side  is 
135  paces,  or  200  ells.  Of  windows  of  coloured  glass  there  are 
to  the  number  of  seventy-four  to  be  seen.  The  Main-building  of 


the  Mosque  consists  of  three  naves,  going  from  east  to  west,  and 
the  width  of  each  nave  is  18  paces.  The  naves  are  supported  by 
fifty-four  pillars,  and  by  eight  piers  of  plaster-work  set  in  between ; 
also  by  six  piers  of  marble,  which  are  of  various  colours,  and  have 
on  them  representations  of  prayer-niches  of  divers  sorts.  Above 
the  building  rises  the  Lead  Dome  (Kubbat  ar  Rasas],  which 
stands  before  the  Mihrab.  It  is  also  called  Kubbat  an  Nasr, 
the  Eagle's  Dome  ;  for  it  is  as  though  they  likened  the  Mosque  in 
plan  to  a  flying  eagle,  the  dome  being  its  head.  This  is  one  of 
the  most  wonderful  constructions  in  the  world.  On  whatever  side 
you  approach  the  city  you  see  the  Dome  of  the  Eagle,  as  it  were, 
in  the  air,  soaring  above  all  the  other  buildings  of  the  city. 

"Round  the  Court  of  the  Mosque  are  three  colonnades— 
namely,  to  west,  and  to  east,  and  to  north.  The  width  of  each  of 
these  colonnades  is  10  paces.  There  are  in  (each  of)  these 
(colonnades)  thirty-three  columns  and  fourteen  piers.  The  width 
of  the  courtyard  is  100  ells.  It  is  one  of  the  pleasantest  places 
to  see,  and  the  people  of  the  city  meet  here  to  talk  and  walk  of 
an  evening.  In  the  court  are  three  cupolas.  The  cupola  to  the 
west  is  the  largest ;  it  is  called  Kubbat  'Ayishah  (the  Dome  of 
'Ayishah),  the  Mother  of  the  Faithful.  It  is  supported  by  eight 
marble  columns,  which  are  ornamented  with  mosaic  work  in 
various  colours.  The  dome  itself  is  covered  with  lead.  They  say 
the  revenues  of  the  Mosque  -used  to  be  kept  there.  They  told 
me,  further,  that  the  revenues  of  the  corn-lands,  and  that  derived 
from  other  possessions  of  the  Mosque,  amounted  yearly  to  20,000 
gold  Dinars  (,£10,000).  The  second  cupola  lies  in  the  eastern 
part  of  the  Mosque  court.  It  is  similar  to  the  first,  but  smaller. 
It  is  supported  by  eight  marble  columns,  and  is  called  the  Kubbat 
of  Zain  al  'Abidin.  The  third  cupola  is  in  the  centre  of  the  court- 
yard. It  is  small  and  octagonal,  of  marble  and  very  wonderfully 
built.  It  is  supported  on  four  pillars  of  white  marble.  Below  it 
is  a  grating  of  iron,  in  the  middle  of  which  is  a  spout  of  brass 
from  which  comes  "water,  throwing  itself  out  like  a  silver  rod. 
They  call  this  the  Water  Cage  (Kafs  al  Ma],  and  the  people  are 
fond  of  putting  their  mouths  thereto  to  drink  of  its  water.  To 
the  east  of  the  courtyard  is  a  gate  which  leads  into  a  beautiful 


mosque  called  Mash-had  'AH  ibn  Abu  Talib — may  Allah  accept 
him  !  Opposite  this,  on  the  west  side  (of  the  courtyard)  where 
the  two  colonnades,  the  northern  and  the  western,  meet  together, 
is  a  place  where  they  say  'Ayishah  was  wont  to  recite  the  traditions 
of  the  Prophet. 

"In  the  southern  part  of  the  Mosque  is  the  Great  Maksurah 
in  which  the  Imam  (or  Leader  of  Prayer)  of  the  Shafi'ites  officiates. 
In  its  eastern  angle,  and  opposite  the  Mihrab,  is  the  Treasury, 
where  is  kept  the  copy  of  the  Kuran  which  was  sent  to  Damascus, 
having  belonged  to  the  Khalif  'Othman.  This  building  is  opened 
every  Friday  after  the  hour  of  prayer,  and  the  people  crowd  here 
to  see  it.  To  the  left  of  the  Maksurah  is  the  Mihrab  of  the 
Companions  (of  the  Prophet),  which  the  historians  say  was  the 
first  Mihrab  erected  in  Islam.  Here  the  Imam  of  the  Malikites 
officiates.  To  the  right  of  the  Maksurah  is  the  Mihrab  of  the 
Hanifites  where  their  Imam  officiates.  Adjacent  to  this,  again,  is 
the  Mihrab  of  the  Hanbalites  where  their  Imam  officiates.  The 
Mosque  has  three  minarets.  The  one  to  the  east  was  built 
originally  by  the  Greeks.  The  entrance  to  it  is  from  inside  the 
Mosque.  In  its  basement  are  the  cells  for  ablution  where  those 
attached  to  the  Mosque  are  wont  to  go.  The  second  minaret, 
which  is  that  on  the  west,  is  also  of  the  building  of  the  Greeks. 
The  third  minaret  is  on  the  north  side,  and  this  minaret  was  built 
by  the  Muslims.  There  are  attached  to  the  Mosque  seventy  Criers 
to  Prayer  (Muadhdhin).  In  the  eastern  part  of  the  Mosque  is  a  large 
Maksurah  (or  place  railed  off),  wherein  is  a  cistern  of  water.  It 
belongs  to  the  people  of  Zaila'  (on  the  Red  Sea),  who  are  negroes. 

"  In  the  middle  of  the  Mosque  is  the  tomb  of  Zakariyya 
(Zacharias,  father  of  John  the  Baptist) — peace  be  upon  him !  There 
is  here  a  cenotaph  placed  crosswise  between  two  columns,  which 
is  covered  with  a  black  silk  cloth,  on  which  is  embroidered  in 
white  letters  the  words :  O  Zakariyya,  verily  we  announce  to  thee 
(the  birth  of)  a  son— his  name  shall  be  John  (Yahya).  (Kuran, 
xix.  7.)  They  say  the  southern  (outer)  wall  of  the  Mosque  was 
buUt  by  the  Prophet  Hud — peace  be  upon  him  !— and  that  his 
tomb  is  there.  I  saw  it,  however,  again  at  a  place  in  Yaman  in 


"  The  Mosque  has  four  gates.  The  southern  gate  is  called  Bab 
az  Ziyadah.  Above  it  is  kept  a  piece  of  the  lance  which  bore 
Khalid  ibn  al  Walid's  standard.  This  gate  has  a  great  hall  before 
it,  in  which  are  the  shops  of  the  old-ironware  merchants  and 
others.  From  thence  you  go  to  the  Cavalry  House  (Ddr  al 
Khail\  To  the  left,  as  you  go  out  (of  the  Bab  az  Ziyadah),  are 
the  shops  of  the  coppersmiths.  This  is  their  gieat  bazaar,  and  it 
extends  all  along  the  southern  outer  wall  of  the  Mosque,  and  is 
one  of  the  finest  bazaars  in  Damascus.  Where  this  bazaar  now 
stands  was  formerly  the  Palace  of  the  Khalif  Mu'awiyah,  and  the 
houses  of  his  people.  This  palace  was  called  Al  Khadra.  The 
Abbasides  pulled  it  down,  and  turned  the  place  where  it  stood 
into  a  bazaar.  The  east  gate  of  the  Mosque  is  the  greatest  of  all 
the  gates.  It  is  called  Bab  JairCm.  It  has  a  great  hall  before  it, 
from  which  you  go  out  into  a  long  and  splendid  colonnade,  in  the 
front  part  of  which  are  five  gates,  each  of  which  has  five  high 
columns.  On  the  left  of  this  (colonnade)  is  a  great  Mash-had 
(oratory),  in  which  was  kept  the  head  of  Al  Husain ;  and  opposite 
thereto  is  a  small  mosque,  called  by  the  name  of  the  Khalif  'Omar 
ibn  'Abd  al  'Aziz.  Here  there  is  running  water.  In  front  of  the 
colonnade  are  steps  by  which  you  descend  to  the  hall.  This  last 
is  like  a  great  fosse,  adjacent  to  which  is  a  very  high  gateway, 
which  is  supported  by  columns  (as  large  as)  huge  palm-trunks. 
On  either  side  of  this  hall,  too,  are  columns.  Above  and  on  the 
top  of  these  is  a  gallery  going  all  round  about,  in  which  are  the 
stalls  of  the  cloth-merchants  and  others.  Above  these,  again,  are 
galleries  in  which  are  the  shops  of  the  jewellers  and  book-sellers, 
and  the  makers  of  the  wonderful  glass  vessels.  In  the  open  square 
adjacent  to  the  first  gate  are  the  stalls  of  the  chief  notaries.  Of 
these  stalls  two  belong  to  the  Shafi'ites,  and  the  rest  to  the  notaries 
of  the  other  three  orthodox  sects.  Every  stall  holds  five  or  six 
notaries,  and  those  who  are  deputed  by  the  Kadi  (judge)  to 
solemnize  marriages.  The  rest  of  the  notaries  live  elsewhere  in 
the  town.  Near  these  stalls  is  the  Bazaar  of  the  Paper-makers, 
where  they  sell  writing-paper  and  pens,  reeds  and  ink.  In  the 
middle  of  the  hall  aforementioned  is  a  large  round  marble  tank, 
over  which  is  a  dome  (pierced  in  the  centre,  and)  open  to  the 


sky,  which  is  supported  on  marble  columns.  In  the  centre  of 
the  tank  is  a  brass  spout,  from  which  is  thrown  up  a  column  of 
water  into  the  air  for  higher  than  a  man's  height.  This  is  called 
the  Fountain  (Al  Fawwarah\  and  is  very  wonderful  to  see. 

"  To  the  right  hand  going  out  of  the  Bab  Jairitn,  which  is  also 
called  the  Bab  as  Sa'at,  is  a  gallery,  in  which  is  a  great  arch. 
Under  this  is  a  row  of  smaller  arches,  in  which  open  doors  equal 
in  number  to  the  hours  of  the  day.  The  doors  are  coloured  on 
the  inside  green,  and  on  the  outside  yellow.  When  one  hour  of 
the  day  has  elapsed,  the  inner  side,  which  is  green,  turns  round 
and  shows  outside ;  while  the  green  (that  was  before)  outside  is 
(now)  within.  They  say  that  on  the  inside  of  the  gallery  there  is 
someone  who  attends  to  turning  these  doors  round  with  his  hand 
when  each  hour  has  elapsed. 

"  The  western  gate  (of  the  Mosque)  is  called  the  Bab  al  Barid. 
To  the  right  hand  as  you  go  out  by  it  is  the  Madrasah  of  the 
Shafi'ites.  This  gate  has  a  hall,  in  which  are  the  shops  of  the 
chandlers  and  the  booths  of  the  fruit-sellers.  Above  it  is  a  door 
to  which  you  ascend  by  steps,  and  this  door  has  high  columns 
(before  it).  Below  the  steps,  to  right  and  to  left,  are  two  basins 
of  water  that  are  circular  in  shape.  The  northern  gate  of  the 
Mosque  is  called  Bab  an  Natifaniyyin  (the  Gate  of  the  Sweetmeat 
sellers).  On  the  right  hand  as  you  go  out  by  it  is  the  Cloister 
(Khanikah)  called  Ash  Shami'aniyyah,  in  the  centre  of  which  is  a 
water-cistern,  and  a  place  for  the  ablution  served  by  running 
water.  They  say  this  was  of  old  the  Palace  of  the  Khalif  'Omar 
ibn  'Abd  al  'Aziz.  At  every  one  of  the  abovementioned  four  gates 
of  the  Mosque  are  places  for  the  ablution,  in  which  altogether  are 
some  hundred  cells,  with  running  water  in  plenty  in  each. 

"  Of  other  places  worthy  of  note  are  the  Dar  al  Khitabah  (the 
House  of  the  Friday  Sermon),  which  you  enter  by  the  Iron  Gate 
opposite  the  Maksurah.  This  was  the  gate  through  which 
Mu'awiyah  used  to  pass  (to  his  Palace  of  the  Khadra).  The 
chief  Kadi  lives  here  now.  Among  the  sanctuaries  we  must 
mention  the  Mash  hads  (or  oratories)  of  'Ali  and  Al  Husain,  the 
Mosque  Al  Kallasah,  and  the  Mash-hads  of  Abu  Bakr,  'Omar, 
and  'Othman.  The  city  gates  of  Damascus  are  eight  in  number. 


Among  these  are  B?  b  al  Faradis,  Bab  al  Jabiyah,  Bab  as  Saghir  ; 
and  between  the  two  last  lies  the  spot  where  are  seen  many  tombs 
of  the  Companions  and  others,  also  the  tomb  of  the  Khalif 
Mu'awiyah,  and  of  Bilal  (the  Prophet's  Crier  to  Prayer),  and  of 
Ka'ab  al  Ahbar.  At  the  opposite  side  to  the  Bab  Jabiyah  is  the 
Bab  Sharki,  the  eastern  gate,  with  the  cemetery  lying  beyond." 

Among  other  places  mentioned  by  Ibn  Batutah  are  As  Salihiyyah, 
the  northern  suburb,  under  Jabal  Kasiyim.  Also  the  Tomb  of 
Dhu-1  Kifl,  the  prophet,  and  the  Cave  of  the  Blood  of  Abel ;  also 
Ar  Rabwah  (the  Hill)  behind  Jabal  Kasiyun,  which  was  the  habi- 
tation of  Mary  and  of  Jesus.  "  There  is  a  beautiful  view  from 
here,"  he  says,  "  as  also  from  the  Oratory  of  Al  Khidr.  The 
village  of  An  Nairab  lies  at  the  foot  of  The  Hill,  Ar  Ribwah.  Al 
Mizzah,  called  also  Mizzah  of  Kalb,  after  the  tribe  of  Kalb  ibn 
Wabrah,  lies  to  the  south  of  Nairab."  (I.  B.,  i.  198-236.) 

The  Great  Mosque  at  Damascus  (as  Yakut  mentions,  see  above, 
p.  263)  must  have  been  seriously  damaged  by  the  fire  which  took 
place  there  in  the  year  1069,  during  a  riot  between  the  Fatimites 
and  the  Shi'ahs.  It  was,  however,  shortly  afterwards  restored,  and 
such  as  the  building  then  was,  we  have  it  described  in  the  diaries 
of  the  two  travellers,  Ibn  Jubair  (1185),  and  Ibn  Batutah  (1355). 
In  the  year  1400  the  great  conqueror  Timur-Leng  took  possession 
of  Damascus,  and  during  the  Mongol  occupation  of  the  city  the 
Great  Mosque  was  set  on  fire  and  burnt  almost  to  the  ground. 
The  historian  Abu-1  Mahasin  says  the  fire  was  actually  lighted  by 
Timur's  orders  ;  Ibn  Khaldun,  on  the  other  hand,  asserts  that  the 
mishap  occurred  during  the  taking  of  the  city  by  assault ;  while 
the  author  of  the  Zafar  Namah  assures  us  that  the  fire  was 
accidental,  and  that  Timur  made  every  possible  effort,  but  in  vain, 
to  have  it  extinguished.  In  Timur's  camp  at  this  time  was  the 
celebrated  Bavarian  traveller  Schiltberger.  The  account  of  his 
voyages  has  been  published  by  the  Hakluyt  Society,  and  from  his 
pages  the  following  quotation,  giving  some  account  of  the  fire,  is 
of  importance,  as  being  the  testimony  of  an  eye  witness,  though 
one  much  prejudiced  against  Timur  : 

"  Then  Tamerlin  stormed  the  City  (of  Damascus),  and  took  it 
by  assault.  And  now  soon  after  he  had  taken  the  City,  came  to 


him  the  Geit,  that  is  as  much  as  to  say  a  Bishop,  and  fell  at  his 
feet,  and  begged  mercy  for  himself  and  his  priests.  Tamerlin 
ordered  that  he  should  go  with  his  priests  into  the  Temple  (mean- 
ing the  Great  Mosque) ;  so  the  priests  took  their,  wives,  their 
children,  and  many  others,  into  the  Temple  for  protection,  until 
there  were  thirty  thousand  young  and  old.  Now  Tamerlin  gave 
orders  that  when  the  Temple  was  full,  the  people  inside  should  be 
shut  up  in  it.  This  was  done.  Then  wood  was  placed  around 
the  Temple,  and  he  ordered  it  to  be  ignited,  and  they  all  perished 
in  the  Temple."  (From  The  Bondage  and  Travels  of  Johann 
Schiltberger,  1396  to  1427,  p.  23;  Hakluyt  Society's  publica- 




Ar  Rakini  and  the  Cave  of  the  Sleepers — Zttghar  (Zoar,  Segor),  the  Cities  of 
Lot,  and  the  Legend  of  Lot's  daughters — Al  Kalt  anH  the  Well  of  the 
Leaf—  Uritn  and  the  Ancient  Temple — 'Ain  al  Jdrah  and  the  Menhir — 
BcC  albakk  a\\&  the  Great  Stones — Bait  Lahm  (Bethlehem)  and  the  Basilica 
of  Constantine — An  Nasirah  (Nazareth)  and  the  Wonderful  Tree. 


THE  story  of  "The  Companions  of  the  Cave"  is  one  that  from 
earliest  times  has  proved  a  favourite  with  the  Muslims.  This 
probably  was  in  the  beginning  due  to  the  fact  that  the  Prophet  had 
used  the  incidents  connected  with  the  legend  of  the  Seven  Sleepers 
of  Ephesus  to  illustrate  one  of  the  didactic  chapters  of  the  Kuran. 
The  Christian  legend  will  be  found  related  at  length  in  the  Acta 
Sanctorum  of  the  Bollandists,  under  date  of  July  27  (Tomus  vi., 
P-  375  5  de  S.  S.  Septem  Dormientibus}. 

Briefly,  the  account  there  given  is,  that  in  the  year  250  A.D., 
during  the  reign  of  the  Emperor  Decius,  there  lived  at  Ephesus 
seven  young  men,  brothers,  and  ardent  Evangelists,  whose  names,  as 
recorded  in  the  Roman  martyrology,  were  Maximilianus,  Marcus, 
Martinianus,  Dionysius,  John,  Serapion,  and  Constantinus.  In 
order  to  escape  the  persecution  then  directed  against  the  Chris- 
tians, these  youths  hid  themselves  in  a  cave  in  Mount  Cselian.  On 
being  discovered  by  their  persecutors  they  were  walled  up  in  the 
cave,  and  there  took  sleep  in  the  Lord.  In  the  year  470,  in  the 
days  of  the  Emperor  Theodosius,  their  bodies  were  discovered,  and 
ultimately  were  brought  to  the  Church  of  St.  Victor,  at  Marseilles, 
where  they  now  lie. 

The  legend  was  apparently  of  Syrian  origin.     It  has  given  its. 


name  to  the  eighteenth  chapter  of  the  Kuran,  of  which  the 
following  verses  are  the  most  important : 

"  Verse  8.  Hast  thou  reflected  that  the  inmates  of  the  Cave  and 
of  Ar  Rakim  were  one  of  our  wondrous  signs  ? 

"  Verse  9.  When  the  youths  betook  them  to  the  cave  they  said, 
'  O,  our  Lord  !  grant  us  mercy  from  before  Thee,  and  order  for  us 
our  affair  aright.' 

"  Verse  10.  Then  struck  we  upon  their  ears  (with  deafness)  in 
the  cave  for  many  a  year.  .  .  . 

"  Verse  16.  And  thou  mightest  have  seen  the  sun  when  it  arose, 
pass  on  the  right  of  their  cave,  and  when  it  set,  leave  them  on  the 
left,  while  they  were  in  its  spacious  chamber. 

"  Verse  17.  And  thou  wouldst  have  deemed  them  awake,  though 
they  were  sleeping ;  and  we  turned  them  to  the  right  and  to  the  left. 
And  in  the  entry  lay  their  dog  with  paws  outstretched.  Hadst 
thou  come  suddenly  upon  them,  thou  wouldst  surely  have  turned 
thy  back  on  them  in  flight,  and  have  been  filled  with  fear  at  them. 

"  Verse  18.  So  we  awaked  them  that  they  might  question  one 
another.  Said  one  of  them,  '  How  long  have  ye  tarried  here  ?' 
.  .  .  They  said,  *  Your  Lord  knoweth  best  how  long  ye  have  tarried  ; 
send  now  one  of  you  with  this  your  coin  into  the  city,  and  let  him 
mark  who  therein  hath  purest  food,  and  from  him  let  him  bring  you 
a  supply;  and  let  him  be  courteous,  and  not  discover  you  to  anyone. 

"  Verse  19.  'For  they,  if  they  find  you  out,  will  stone  you  or 
turn  you  back  to  their  faith,  and  in  that  case  it  will  fare  ill  with 
you  for  ever.' 

"  Verse  20.  And  thus  we  made  their  adventure  known  to  (their 
fellow-citizens),  that  they  might  learn  that  the  promise  of  God  is 
true.  .  .  . 

"  Verse  21.  Some  say,  they  were  three;  their  dog  the  fourth  ; 
others  say,  five ;  their  dog  the  sixth ;  guessing  at  the  secret ;  others 
say,  seven ;  their  dog  the  eighth.  .  .  . 

"  Verse  24.  And  they  tarried  in  their  Cave  three  hundred  years, 
and  nine  years  over."* 

*  Quoted  from  the  Rev.  J.  M.  Rodwell's  translation  of  the  Kuran.  Accord- 
ing to  the  Christian  tradition,  the  youths  entered  the  cave  under  the  Emperor 
Decius  and  awoke  in  the  days  of  Theodosius.  This  gives  some  220  years, 
which  does  not  agree  with  the  309  years  of  the  Kuran. 

1 8— 2 


Scattered  up  and  down  the  volumes  of  Yakut's  great  Geo- 
graphical Dictionary,  under  various  headings,  are  many  curious 
details  relating  to  the  legend  of  the  Seven  Sleepers,  and  these 
may  with  advantage  be  brought  together  for  purposes  of  com- 
parison with  accounts,  derived  from  other  early  Muslim  writers,  of 
reported  visits  to  the  Cave. 

Starting  with  the  verses  of  the  Kuran,  before  quoted,  where  the 
Cave  and  Ar  Rakim  are  mentioned,  the  Muslims  were  much 
exercised  in  their  minds  as  to  what  signification  should  be  attached 
to  the  word  Ar  Rakim.  According  to  one  account  (Yakut,  ii.  805), 
Ar  Rakim  was  said  to  be  "  a  tablet  of  lead  on  which  were  in- 
scribed the  names  of  the  Men  of  the  Cave,  and  their  history,  and 
the  date  of  their  flight."  The  authority  of  the  great  traditionist, 
Ibn  'Abbas,  is,  on  the  same  page,  given  in  support  of  the  view 
that  Ar  Rakim  was  the  name  of  the  Cave,  which,  it  is  further 
stated,  "lay  between  'Amuriyyah  (Amorium)  and  Nikiyah  (Nicaea), 
being  ten  or  eleven  days'  journey  from  Tarsus."  "  Other  authori- 
ties, however,"  says  Yakut,  "  hold  Ar  Rakim  to  be  either  the  name 
of  the  Village  where  the  youths  lived,  or  of  the  mountain  in 
which  the  Cave  was  to  be  found."  "  Or,"  says  Yakut,  in  another 
article,  "Jairam  is  said  to  be  the  name  of  the  Cave  of  the 
Sleepers."  (Yak.,  ii.  175.) 

The  same  Ibn  'Abbas  (Yak.,  ii.  805)  further  states  that  the 
names  of  the  Seven  Sleepers  were  these  :  "  Yamlikha  (Jamblichus), 
Maksimilina  (Maximilianus),  Mashilina  (Marcellus  ?),  Martunus 
(Martianus),  Dabriyus  (Dionysius?  or  Demetrius?),  Sirabiyun 
(Serapion),  and  Afastatiyus  (Exustadianus  ?).  The  name  of  their 
dog  being  Kitmir,  and  of  the  king  from  whom  they  fled  Dakiyanus 
(Decianus,  a  mistake  for  Decius)."  The  name  of  their  city  is  given 
very  correctly  (Yak.,  ii.  806)  as  Afasus  (Ephesus) ;  Ar  Rakim  being 
here  mentioned  as  the  name  of  the  Cave,  and  Ar  Rass  the  name 
of  the  Village  where  the  youths  dwelt.  In  a  previous  article,  how- 
ever (Yak.,  i.  91),  we  find  another  spelling:  "  Abasus,  a  ruined 
city  of  the  country  of  the  Greeks,  from  which  the  Companions  of 
the  Cave  came.  It  is  said  to  be  the  City  of  Dakiyanus,  and  it 
lies  near  Abulustain.  There  are  many  wonderful  remains  here." 
Two  pages  further  on  (Yak.,  i.  93)  Abulustain  is  given  as  "  a 


celebrated  city  in  the  Creek  country,  near  to  whicli  is  Ar 

Abulustain,  near  Kphesus,  is  the  place  at  the  present  da}' 
called  Al  Bustan.  Yakut  apparently  has  taken  this  notice  ot 
Abulustain  from  'Ali  of  Herat,  for  a  similar  account  is  to  be  found 
in  his  work.  (A.  II.,  ( )\f.  MS.,  folio  8f>  v.)  In  the  last  volume 
of  Yakut  (iv.  1040),  "  Yanjalus  "  (evidently  a  Creek  name;  is 
stated  to  be  the  name  of  the  mountain  in  which  lay  the  (lave  ot 
the  Sleepers,  but  some  doubt  is  expressed  as  to  where  the  moun- 
tain was  situated. 

Besides  the  neighbourhood  of  Kphesus,  Yakut  localises  the 
legend  in  two  other  places,  namely,  in  the  trans- [ordanie  Province 
of  the  Balka,  and  in  Spain.  In  the  latter  country,  Yakut  writes 
(vol.  ii.  125  and  806),  "some  say  the  Cave  and  Ar  Rakim  are  to 
be  found  at  Jinan  al  Ward  (the  (Jardens  of  the  Rose),  in  Anda- 
lusia, adding  that  Tulaitalah  (Toledo)  is  the  City  of  Dakiyantis  — - 
but  (iod  knows  best.'  Of  Ar  Rakim,  in  the  Balk.;,  a  curious 
story  relating  to  a  cave  to  be  seen  there  in  the  tenth  century  is 
given  by  Mukaddasi.  The  earliest  notice  of  Ar  Rakim,  however, 
is  found  in  the  work  of  Istakhri,  who  wrote  a  generation  before 
Mukaddasi  :  his  account  is  as  follows  : 

"  Rakim  or  Ar  Rakim  is  a  town  on  the  confines  of  the  Balka 
Province.  It  is  small,  and  its  houses  are  entirely  cut  out  in  the 
rock.  Their  walls,  even,  are  all  of  the  live  rock,  so  that  each 
appears  to  be  of  but  a  single  block  of  stone."  (Is.,  64,  copied  by 

A.    K,  227.) 

*  Ar  Rakim  has  often  been  identified  with  1'etra  or  "Wa  li  Musa,  near  Mount 
llor,  on  the  hypothesis  that  the  name  represents  the  '  Arekem  '  of  fosephus 
('Anti(|.,'  iv.  4,  £  7  ;  and  iv.  7,55  i ).  This  identification,  however,  which 
originated  with  A.  Schultens  in  the  last  century  (see  his  '  Vita  Saladim,'  Index 
Geographicus,  s.v.  Ermkiniuni},  an  1  has  been  constantly  copied  by  writers 
up  to  the  present  day,  was  very  justly  shown  to  be  impossible  by  Robinson,  in 
his  Biblical  A'es,-a;r/t<;<  (ii.  655).  Mukaddasi's  account  confirms  this  by  placing 
Ar  Rakim  three  miles  from  'Amman.  Further,  Ibn  al  Athir  ('Chronicle,' 
xi.  259)  states  that  Ar  Rakim  lies  two  days'  march  north  of  Kaiak,  on  the 
road  between  Damascus  and  that  fortress.  Neither  of  these  indications  will 
allow  of  Ar  Rakim  being  identified  with  Pelra  (\Va  It  Musa)  lying  two  days' 
march  south  of  the  Dead  Sea.  Tne  confusion  no  uoubt  arose  from  the  fact 
that  there  were  in  Hebrew  times  two  Rakims,  as  is  proved  by  the  notices  given 


The  following  is  the  account  of  the  cave  given  by  Mukaddasi : 
"In  the  village  of  Ar  Rakim,  which  lies  about  a  league  distant 
from  'Amman,  and  on  the  border  of  the  desert,  is  a  cavern  with 
two  entrances — one  large,  one  small — and  they  say  that  he  who 
enters  by  the  larger  is  unable  to  leave  by  the  smaller,  unless  he 
have  with  him  a  guide.  In  the  cave  are  three  tombs,  concerning 
which  Abu-1  Fadl  Muhammad  ibn  Mansur  related  to  me  the  fol- 
lowing tradition  of  the  Prophet,  and  his  authority  was  Abu  Bakr 
ibn  Sa'id,  who  said  that  'Abd  Allah,  the  son  of  the  Khalif  'Omar, 
was  wont  to  relate  the  story,  he  himself  having  heard  it  from  the 
mouth  of  the  Prophet — the  grace  of  Allah  be  upon  him,  and  His 
peace  !  Thus  he  spoke :  '  While  three  men  once  were  walking 
together,  heavy  rain  overtook  them,  and  drove  them  into  a  cavern 
of  the  mountain,  and  of  a  sudden  there  fell,  from  the  mountain 
above,  a  rock  which  blocked  up  the  mouth  of  the  cave,  and 
behold  they  were  shut  in.  Then  one  of  them  called  to  the  other, 
saying,  "  Now,  mind  ye  of  such  good  deeds  as  ye  have  done,  and 
call  on  Allah  thereby,  beseeching  Him,  so  that  for  the  sake  thereof 
perchance  He  may  cleave  this  rock  before  us."  Then  one  of 
them  cried  aloud,  saying,  "  Allah !  of  a  truth  have  not  I  my  two 
parents  who  are  old  and  feeble,  besides  my  children,  of  whom  I 
am  the  sole  protector  ?  And  when  I  return  to  them,  I  do  milk 
the  kine,  and  give  first  of  the  milk  to  my  two  parents,  even  before 
giving  of  it  to  my  children.  Now,  on  a  certain  day,  when  I  was 
at  forced  labour,  I  came  not  to  them  until  it  was  night,  and  found 
my  parents  slumbering.  Then  I  milked  the  kine,  as  was  my 
wont,  and  I  brought  of  the  milk  and  came  and  stood  near  by 
unto  them,  but  feared  awaking  them  from  their  sleep ;  and 
further,  I  dared  not  give  of  it  to  the  children  before  the  setting  of 
it  before  my  elders,  although  the  children,  in  truth,  were  in  distress 
for  want  thereof.  And  thus  I  remained  waiting  till  the  breaking 
of  the  dawn.  Now,  since  Thou  knowest  well  how  I  did  this 
thing  from  fear  of  Thy  face,  so  therefore  cause  this  rock  to  cleave 
before  us,  that  through  the  same  we  may  perceive  the  sky." 
Then  Allah  caused  a  cleft  to  split  in  the  rock,  and  through  it  they 

in  the  Talmud  (cf.  Neubauer's  Geographic  du   Talmud},  namely,   '  Rekem  of 
Ga'aya'  and  '  Rekem  of  Hagra,'  the  latter  being  Petra. 


perceived  the  sky.  Then  the  second  one  cried  aloud,  and  said, 
"  Allah  !  was  there  not  the  daughter  of  my  uncle,  whom  I  loved 
passionately,  as  only  man  can  love?  And  when  I  sought  to 
possess  her,  she  would  refuse  herself  to  me,  saying  that  I  should 
bring  her  a  hundred  pieces  of  gold.  Then  I  made  effort,  and  col- 
lected those  hundred  pieces,  bringing  them  to  her ;  but  even  as  I 
was  entering  to  possess  her,  she  cried  aloud  and  said,  '  O  servant 
of  Allah,  fear  Him,  and  force  me  not,  except  in  lawfulness.'  So  I 
went  from  her.  And  now,  verily,  as  Thou  knowest  that  1  did  even 
this  from  the  fear  of  Thy  face,  so  therefore  cleave  unto  us  again 
a  portion  of  this  rock."  And  Allah  vouchsafed  to  cleave  thereof 
another  cleft.  Then  the  last  man  cried  aloud,  and  said,  "  Allah  ! 
did  I  not  hire  a  serving-man  for  the  customary  portion  of  rice  ? 
And  when  his  task  was  accomplished,  he  said  to  me,  'Now  give 
to  me  my  due.'  And  I  gave  to  him  his  due;  but  he  would  not 
receive  it,  and  despised  it.  Then  I  ceased  not  to  use  the  same  for 
sowing  till,  of  profit,  I  became  possessed  of  cattle  and  of  a  neat- 
herd slave.  And  after  long  time,  the  man  came  to  me  and  said, 
*  Fear  Allah,  and  oppress  me  not ;  but  give  to  me  my  due.'  And 
I,  answering  him,  said,  '  Go  thou,  then,  to  these  cattle  and  their 
herdsmen,  and  receive  them.'  Said  he  again,  *  Fear  Allah,  and 
mock  me  not !'  And  I  answered  him,  *  Verily,  I  mock  thee  not. 
Do  thou  take  these  cattle  and  their  herdsmen.'  So  he  at  last, 
taking  them,  did  go  his  way.  And  now,  since  Thou  knowest  how 
I  did  this  thing  in  fear  of  Thy  face,  do  Thou  cause  what  of  this 
rock  remaineth  to  be  cleft  before  us."  Then  Allah  caused  the 
whole  rock  to  become  cleft  before  them.'  ".  (Muk.,  175.) 

The  tradition  here  given  is  evidently  a  somewhat  disguised 
version  of  the  story  of  the  Cave  of  the  Sleepers  mentioned  in 
the  Kuran.  Mas'udi,  writing  in  943,  remarks  on  the  history  of 
the  Companions  of  the  Cave  and  Ar  Rakim  :  "  There  is  consider- 
able difference  of  opinion  among  people  as  to  the  Companions  of 
the  Cave  and  of  Ar  Rakim.  Some  there  are  who  hold  the  Com- 
panions of  the  Cave  to  be  the  same  as  the  Companions  of  Ar 
Rakim,  and  say  that  Ar  Rakim  is  but  the  name  of  the  Com- 
panions of  the  Cave  that  were  written  (Rakama)  on  a  tablet  of 
stone  over  the  door  of  the  cavern.  Others  say  the  Companions 


of  the  Cave  are  quite  distinct  from  the  Companions  of  Ar  Rakim." 
(Mas.,  iii.  307.) 

Of  visits  to  the  reputed  Cave  of  the  Sleepers  in  the  Greek 
territories  there  are  several  accounts  quoted  by  Yakut,  and  other 
writers.  The  earliest  is  said  to  have  taken  place  about  the  year 
ii  A.M.  (632);  next  in  chronological  order  is  the  account  found 
in  Mukaddasi  of  a  visit  in  the  year  102  (720)  ;  a  third  visit,  men- 
tioned in  Yakut,  is  set  down  to  have  taken  place  in  the  reign  of 
the  Khalif  al  VVathik,  about  the  year  845  A.D. 

The  first  account  is  as  follows  : 

"  'Ubadah  ibn  as  Samit  relates  as  follows  :  *  Abu  Bakr  as  Siddik 
despatched  me  the  year  he  became  Khalif  (A.H.  11,  A.D.  632)  to 
the  King  of  Rum  (Greece)  to  exhort  him  to  receive  Islam,  or  else 
to  declare  him  war.' 

"  'Ubadah  continues  :  '  We  journeyed  until  we  entered  the 
country  of  the  Greeks,  and  when  we  were  approaching  Constanti- 
nople, there  appeared  before  us  a  red  mountain  in  which  they 
said  were  the  Companions  of  the  Cave,  and  Ar  Rakim  ;  so  we 
turned  aside  to  a  monastery,  and  inquired  of  the  people  thereof 
concerning  them,  and  they  pointed  out  a  passage  in  the  mountain. 
Then  we  told  them  that  we  wished  to  see  the  (Companions  of  the 
Cave).  They  said,  "  Give  us  somewhat,"  and  we  gave  them 
Dinars.  Then  they  entered  the  passage,  and  we  entered  after 
them,  and  there  was  herein  a  door  of  iron  which  they  opened, 
and  they  brought  us  to  a  mighty  chamber  (bait)  hollowed  in  the 
mountain,  in  which  were  thirteen  men  lying  on  their  backs,  as 
though  they  were  asleep.  They  all  were  covered  from  head  to 
foot  with  dust-gray  cloaks  and  shirts.  We  could  not  discover 
whether  their  clothes  were  of  wool  or  of  hair,  or  of  what  other 
material ;  but  the  texture  was  harder  than  brocade,  and  crackled 
from  the  thickness  and  the  excellence  of  the  stuff.  We  saw  that 
most  of  them  had  on  boots  (k/iufaf)  reaching  up  to  the  middle  of 
the  leg,  but  some  were  shod  with  sandals  (m'dt)  sewn  together. 
Both  the  boots  and  the  sandals  were  of  excellent  sewing,  and  the 
leather  was  such  as  the  like  I  have  not  seen  elsewhere.  We  un- 
covered their  faces,  one  after  the  other,  and  lo  !  in  all  was  the 
complexion  of  healthful  bloom,  and  of  red  blood  (in  the  cheeks), 


as  is  the  appearance  of  a  living  man.  Of  some  (the  hair)  was 
turning  gray,  and  some  were  in  their  youth  with  black  hair;  some 
had  flowing  locks,  and  some  were  shaven.  Their  stature  was  that 
of  ordinary  Muslims.  When  we  came  to  the  last  of  them,  we 
beheld  that  his  head  had  been  cut  off  with  a  sword-stroke,  and  it 
was  as  though  it  had  been  struck  off  that  very  day.  We  inquired 
of  those  who  had  conducted  us  hither  what  they  did  with  these 
men.  They  replied,  it  was  their  wont  to  come  in  here  on  the 
festival-day  of  (the  Companions  of  the  Cave),  when  the  people  of 
the  country  would  assemble  at  the  gate  of  the  cave,  coming  in 
from  all  the  towns  and  villages  around ;  and  that  then,  during 
some  days,  they  would  stand  the  dead  men  upright  in  order  to 
clean  them,  and  shake  the  dust  from  their  cloaks  and  shirts ;  also, 
they  pared  their  nails,  and  cut  their  moustaches,  and  after  this 
they  laid  them  down  once  more  in  the  position  in  which  we  now 
saw  them.' 

"  '  Then  we  inquired  of  our  guides  as  to  who  these  men  had 
been,  and  what  had  been  their  office,  and  how  long  they  had  lain 
in  this  place.  The  guides  answered  us  they  had  found  in  their 
Books  that  these  men  had  lain  in  this  place  since  four  hundred 
years  before  the  coming  of  the  Messiah — peace  be  upon  Him  !  — 
and  that  they  had  been  prophets,  sent  at  a  certain  time,  and  that 
they  knew  naught  more  of  their  condition  but  this.' 

"  Says  the  writer,  'Abd  Allah  (Yakut),  the  poor  servant  (of 
God) :  '  All  this  have  I  copied  from  the  work  of  a  man  of  trust, 
but  Allah  alone  knows  if  it  be  true.' ''  (Yak.,  ii.  806.) 

A  somewhat  similar  account  to  the  above  is  also  given  by 
Mukaddasi,  but  with  the  difference  that  the  visit  he  narrates  took 
place  some  ninety  years  later  than  the  date  quoted  for  Yakut's 
narrative,  and  naturally  the  "  narrator  "  is  not  the  same.  Mukad- 
dasi, after  stating  that  Tarsus  was  in  his  day  (985)  in  the  power  of 
the  Greeks,  continues : 

"  As  regards  the  Cave  (of  the  Seven  Sleepers),  the  city  to  which 
it  belongs  is  Tarsus  ;  and  further,  here  is  the  tomb  of  Dakiyanus, 
and  in  the  neighbourhood  is  a  hill,  on  which  is  a  mosque,  said  to 
have  been  built  above  the  cave.  The  jurisprudist  Abu  'Abd-Allah 
Muhammad  'Omar  al  Bukhari  related  to  us,  quoting  the  words  of 


Abu  Talib  al  Vamani,  who  held  it  by  a  chain  of  authorities,  that 
Mujahid  ibn  Yazid  had  reported,  saying,  *  I  went  forth  with 
Khalid  al  Baridi  in  the  days  when  he  went  on  an  embassy  to  the 
Emperor  (at  Constantinople),  during  the  year  of  the  Flight  102 
(720),  and  beside  us  two  there  went  no  other  Muslims.  After  we 
had  visited  Constantinople,  we  set  out  to  return  by  'Amuriyyah 
(Amorium),  and  thence,  in  the  course  of  four  nights,  we  reached 
Al  Ladhikiyyah  (Loadicea  Combusta),  which  had  been  destroyed 
by  fire.  From  thence  we  came  on  to  Al  Hawiyyah,  which  lies  in 
the  midst  of  the  mountains,  and  it  was  here  told  us  that  in  this 
place  were  some  dead  men,  who  they  were  none  knew,  but  there 
were  guards  set  to  guard  them.  And  the  people  caused  us  to 
enter  a  tunnel,  some  50  ells  deep  and  2  broad,  having  lamps  with 
us,  and  behold,  in  the  middle  of  this  tunnel  was  an  iron  door,  it 
being  a  hiding-place  for  their  families  at  times  when  the  Arabs 
make  their  incursions  against  them.  At  this  spot  were  ruined 
buildings  of  great  extent,  in  the  midst  of  which  was  a  hole  in  the 
ground,  some  15  ells  across,  filled  with  water,  and  from  here  one 
could  perceive  the  sky.  The  cavern  from  this  place  entered  the 
bowels  of  the  mountain,  and  we  were  conducted  to  a  spot  right 
under  Al  Hawiyyah,  where  was  a  chamber  some  20  ells  deep.  In 
this  were  thirteen  men,  lying  prostrate  one  behind  the  other,  each 
wearing  a  cloak.  1  was  unable  to  see  whether  this  was  of  wool 
or  of  hair,  but  the  cloaks  were  gray  in  colour — dust-coloured  vest- 
ments— which  crackled  under  the  touch  like  parchment.  In 
every  case  the  garments,  which  were  fringed,  veiled  the  face  of 
the  wearer,  and  covered  his  limbs.  And  some  wore  boots  up  to 
the  middle  of  the  leg,  and  some  sandals,  while  others  had  shoes  ; 
but  everything  was  perfectly  new.  On  uncovering  the  face  of  one 
of  them,  I  perceived  that  the  hair  of  his  head  and  of  his  beard 
had  remained  unchanged,  and  that  the  skin  of  his  face  was 
shining,  the  blood  appearing  in  his  cheeks.  It  was  as  though 
these  men  had  laid  themselves  down  but  a  moment  before,  for 
their  limbs  were  supple  as  are  the  limbs  of  living  men,  and  all 
were  still  in  their  youth,  except  certain  of  them  whose  locks  had 
begun  to  turn  gray.  And  behold,  one  of  them  had  had  his  head 
cut  off,  and  inquiring  of  the  people  of  the  matter,  they  answered, 


saying,  "  When  the  Arabs  came  down  on  us,  and  took  possession 
of  Al  Hawiyyah,  we  gave  them  information  concerning  these  (dead 
men),  but  they  would  not  believe  us,  and  one  of  the  Arabs  struck 
the  head  off  this  body." 

"  '  The  men  of  Al  Hawiyyah  further  related  to  us  that  at  the 
commencement  of  each  year  on  their  feast-day  the  people 
"assemble  in  this  cavern,  and,  raising  each  of  these  corpses  one 
by  one,  they  cause  them  to  stand  upright.  Then  they  wash  them, 
and  shake  the  dust  off  their  clothes,  and  arrange  their  garments. 
Moreover,  these  dead  men  are  not  allowed  afterwards  to  fall  or 
sink  down,  but  are  laid  out  by  the  people,  after  the  manner  we 
saw,  on  the  ground ;  and  they  pare  their  nails  three  times  in  the 
year,  for  these  do  continue  to  grow.  Then  we  inquired  the 
explanation  of  these  things,  and  concerning  their  origin ;  but  the 
people  replied  that  they  knew  nothing  about  the  matter,  only 
adding,  "We  call  them  prophets."' 

"  The  before-mentioned  Mujahid  and  Khalid  further  state  that 
they  themselves  concluded  that  these  men  must  be  the  Com- 
panions of  the  Cave  (mentioned  in  the  Kuran) ;  but  Allah  alone 
knows."  (Muk.,  153.) 

The  third  account  is  quoted  by  Yakut.  This  visit  is  stated  to 
have  taken  place  rather  more  than  a  century  after  the  one 
described  in  the  pages  of  Mukaddasi : 

"It  was  the  Khalif  Al  Wathik  (A.H.  227-232;  A.D.  842-847) 
who  sent  Muhammad  ibn  Musa  al  Munajjim  (the  Astrologer)  to 
the  countries  of  the  Greeks  to  discover  the  Companions  of  the 
Cave  and  Ar  Rakim.  This  Muhammad,  the  astrologer,  reports 
of  his  journey  as  follows  : 

"  '  And  we  reached  the  country  of  the  Greeks,  and,  lo  !  before 
us  was  a  small  mountain,  the  base  of  which  was  not  more  than 
1,000  ells  (round).  In  its  side  is  a  passage ;  and  you  enter  by 
this  passage,  and  pass  through  a  tunnel  in  the  ground  for  the 
distance  of  300  paces,  when  you  arrive  at  a  portico  (riwak).  This 
is  in  the  mountain ;  it  is  supported  by  columns  cut  out  of  the 
rock.  In  the  rock  are  numerous  chambers  (bait\  and  among 
them  one  with  a  tall  doorway,  of  man's  height,  closed  by  a  stone 
gate.  It  is  here  the  dead  men  lie.  There  was  one  in  attendance 


who  guarded  them,  and  with  him  were  eunuchs.  The  guardian 
would  have  turned  us  aside  from  seeking  to  see  the  dead  men ; 
for  he  said  that  of  a  surety  he  who  went  down  to  seek  them 
would  receive  some  bodily  injury.  But  by  this  dissimulation  he 
sought  rather  to  keep  the  advantage  of  the  visitation  to  himself 
(and  his  people). 

"  '  Then  said  I  to  him,  "  Give  me  but  a  sight  of  them,  and 
thou  shalt  be  free  (of  all  blame  in  the  matter)."  And  so  ascending 
with  great  pain  a  rough  way,  and  accompanied  by  one  of  my 
young  men,  I  beheld  these  (dead  men).  And,  lo  !  (their  bodies; 
had  been  rubbed  with  unguents,  the  hair  being  soft  in  the  hand, 
and  their  limbs  anointed  with  aloes,  and  myrrh,  and  camphor  to 
preserve  them.  Their  skin  clave  to  the  bones — for  I  passed  my 
hand  over  the  breast  of  one  of  them — and  1  found  the  hair 
thereof  rough.  The  garments  were  strong  (of  texture). 

"  '  After  that  (we  had  returned)  the  guardian  presented  us  with 
food,  and  besought  us  to  eat ;  but  when  we  took  thereof  and 
tasted  it  our  stomachs  revolted  from  it,  and  vomited  it  up  again. 
It  was  as  though  a  villainy  had  been  attempted,  and  that  (the 
guardian)  had  sought  to  kill  us—  or  certain  of  us,  at  least — in 
order  to  justify  the  words  of  dissimulation  used  in  the  presence  of 
the  king  when  saying  that  the  Companions  of  Ar  Rakim  would 
surely  work  us  evil.  Then  said  we  to  the  (guardian),  "  We 
had  imagined  they  would  have  been  living  men,  with  the 
semblance  of  those  who  are  dead  ;  but  behold  these  (men)  are 
not  of  this  sort !"  And  we  left  him,  and  went  our  ways.' " 
(Yak.,  ii.  805.) 

Referring  to  the  various  accounts  of  the  Cave  of  the  Seven 
Sleepers,  Al  Biruni,  who  wrote  in  390  (A.D.  1000),  has  some 
pertinent  remarks,  which  I  quote  from  Professor  Sachau's  excellent 
translation  of  the  text,*  where,  in  the  chapter  on  the  festivals  of 
the  Syrian  calendar,  and  under  date  of  the  5th  of  Tishrin  I. 
(October),  we  find  the  following  : 

"  Commemoration  of  the  Seven  Sleepers  of  Ephesus,  who  are 
mentioned  in  the  Kuran.  The  Khalif  Al  Mu'tasim  had  sent 

*  Translation  of  the  Ath&r  al  Bakiyah,  p.  285.  Oriental  Translation  Fund, 


along  with  his  ambassador  another  person,  who  saw  the  place  of 
the  Seven  Sleepers  with  his  own  eyes,  and  touched  them  with  his 
own  hands.  This  report  is  known  to  everybody.  We  must, 
however,  observe  that  he  who  touched  them — />.,  Muhammad 
ibn  Musa  ibn  Shakir — himself  makes  the  reader  rather  doubt 
whether  they  are  really  the  corpses  of  those  seven  youths  or  other 
people — in  fact,  some  sort  of  deception.  'Ali  ibn  Yahya,  the 
astronomer,  relates  that,  on  returning  from  his  expedition,  he 
entered  that  identical  place — a  small  mountain,  the  diameter  of 
which  at  the  bottom  is  a  little  less  than  1,000  yards.  At  the 
outside  you  see  a  subterranean  channel,  which  goes  into  the 
interior  of  the  mountain,  and  passes  through  a  deep  cave  in  the 
earth  for  a  distance  of  300  paces.  Then  the  channel  runs  out 
into  a  sort  of  half-open  hall  in  the  mountain,  the  roof  being 
supported  by  perforated  columns  ;  and  in  this  hall  there  is  a 
number  of  separate  compartments.  There,  he  says,  he  saw 
thirteen  people,  among  them  a  beardless  youth,  dressed  in  woollen 
coats  and  other  woollen  garments,  in  boots  and  shoes.  He 
touched  some  hairs  on  the  forehead  of  one  of  them,  and  tried  to 
flatten  them,  but  they  did  not  yield.  That  their  number  is  more 
than  seven — which  is  the  Muhammadan — and  more  than  eight — 
which  is  the  Christian  tradition — is,  perhaps,  to  be  explained  in 
this  way,  that  some  monks  have  been  added  who  died  there  in 
the  same  spot.  .  .  ." 

A  few  words  may  be  added  in  conclusion  regarding  the  names 
of  the  Seven  Sleepers  as  given  in  the  authorities  quoted  in  the 
Acta  Sanctoium  of  the  Bollandists  (Tomus  vi.  Julii,  p.  375  et 
seq.\  and  in  the  Bibliotheca  Orientalia  of  Assemani  (vol.  i.,  p.  335 
et  seq.\ 

The  legend  of  the  Seven  Sleepers  is  first  referred  to  in  Western 
literature  by  Gregory  of  Tours  (De  Gloria  Martyrum,  vol.  i.,  9, 
caput  95),  according  to  whom  they  were  seven  in  number,  their 
names  being  Clemens,  Primus,  Lcetus,  Theodorus,  Gaudens, 
Quiriacus  (or  Cyriacus\  and  Innocentius.  In  the  official  list  of 
the  Roman  Acta  Sanctorum  the  names  appear  in  Latin  as 
MaximianuS)  Constantinus,  Malchus,  Serapion,  Martinianus, 
Dionysius,  Johannes.  In  Greek  the  first  two  figure  as  Maximilianus 


and  Constantinianus  respectively;  while  Exacustodianus  replaces 
Malchus,  and  Jamblichus  Serapion,  of  the  Roman  list. 

In  Assemani  (Bibl.  Or.,  i.  336)  we  find  a  list  taken  from  the 
writings  of  Dionysius,  the  Jacobite  patriarch,  who  gives  the  number 
as  eight,  their  names  being  Maximilianus,  Jamblichus,  Serapion, 
Martinianus,  Johannes,  Exustadianus,  Dionysius,  and  Antoninus. 

The  following  are  the  names,  seven  in  number,  from  two  other 
Marty rologies,  as  given  in  the  Ada  San:torum  (loc.  at.,  p.  376) : 

Russian  :  Maximilianus,  Dionysius,  Amulichus,  Martinus, 
Antoninus,  Johannes,  Marcellus. 

Ethiopian  (as  given  by  Jobus  Ludolfus,  Calendarium  sEthiopi- 
cum,  p.  436) :  Arshaledes,  Diomedes,  Eugenius,  Dimatheus, 
Bronatheus,  Stephus,  Cyriacus. 

The  list  given  by  the  Arab  traditionist,  Ibn  'Abbas  (cited 
above,  p.  276),  is,  doubtless,  somewhat  corrupt.  In  Eutychius 
(edited  by  Pocock,  vol.  i.,  p.  390  of  the  text)  the  names  appear 
as  Maksimyaniis,  Amlikhus,  Diydnfis,  Martinus,  Diyuriisiyus, 
Antuniyus,  Yuhanna. 

The  variety  in  the  names  would  appear  to  have  struck  the 
Martyrologists  as  requiring  some  explanation.  In  the  Ada 
Sanctorum  (loc.  cit.,  p.  376)  the  opinion  of  the  anonymous  Greek 
author  of  a  MS.  in  the  Medicean  Library  is  quoted,  as  also  that 
of  Boninus  Membritius.  These  are  both  of  the  opinion  that  the 
variants  were  due  to  the  fact  that  the  individuals  are  cited,  in  one 
account,  under  their  original  Pagan  names,  and,  in  another,  under 
the  names  they  subsequently  received  in  baptism. 

ZUGHAR*    AND    THE    CITIES    OF    LOT. 

The  town  of  Zughar,  so  frequently  mentioned  by  early  Arab 
historians,  is  the  Segor  of  the  Crusading  Chronicles,  situated  at 
the  southern  end  of  the  Dead  Sea.  Whether  or  not  this  occupies 
the  site  of  the  Biblical  Zoar  of  Lot  is  a  point  on  which  certainty 
is  hardly  to  be  obtained  after  the  lapse  of  so  many  centuries,  and 
when  taking  into  account  the  extreme  paucity  and  obscurity  of 
the  topographical  indications  afforded  by  the  Book  of  Genesis. 
It  has,  however,  been  stated  f  that  the  Arab  geographers  place 

*  Also  spelt  Sughar,  and  Suknr. 

f  Notably  by  Dr.  Selah  Merrill,  East  of  the  Jordan,  p.  233  et  se.q. 


Zughar  at  the  northern  end  of  the  Dead  Sea,  near  Jericho;  and 
on  this  authority  the  Zoar  of  Lot  has  been  identified  with  Tell 
esh  Shaghur,  not  far  to  the  east  of  the  Jordan  Ford.  The  Arab 
geographers  are,  however,  unanimous  in  placing  Zughar  at  the 
southern  extremity  of  the  Dead  Sea,  and  in  this  they  may  be  taken 
to  confirm  the  tradition  preserved  by  Josephus  (who  is  followed 
by  Eusebius  and  Jerome  in  the  Onomasticon^  who  speaks  of  the 
Dead  Sea  as  stretching  from  Jericho  on  the  north  to  Segor  on  the 

The  misapprehension  of  the  texts  of  the  Arab  geographers  is, 
doubtless,  due  to  a  confusion  of  the  two  Ghaurs.  For  it  must  be 
borne  in  mind  that  the  valley  leading  south  from  the  Dead  Sea  to 
the  head  of  the  Gulf  of  'Akabah  is  known  to  the  Arabs  as  the 
Ghaur  (see  above,  p.  31),  and  hence  bears  the  same  name  as 
that  applied  by  them  to  the  Jordan  Valley  running  up  north  from 
that  lake.  To  the  Arab  mediaeval  writers,  Zughar,  the  City  of 
Lot,  was  as  well  known  a  place  as  Jerusalem  or  Damascus.  It 
was  the  most  noted  commercial  centre  of  the  south  country,  and 
the  capital  of  the  Province  of  Ash  Sharah  (Edom),  being  com- 
parable even  to  Basrah,  the  Port  of  Baghdad,  for  the  extent  of  its 

To  sum  up  the  indications  detailed  below,  Zughar  lay  near  the 
Dead  Sea,  one  or  two  days'  march  from  Jericho,  three  days'  from 
Jerusalem,  one  from  Ma'ab  (near  Karak),  and  four  from  the  head 
of  the  Gulf  of  'Akabah.  From  all  of  which  it  is  impossible  that  a 
town  opposite  Jericho,  across  the  Jordan  Ford,  can  be  intended. 

To  set  the  matter  of  the  position  of  Zughar  beyond  a  doubt, 
however,  the  testimony  of  Abu-1  Fida  may  be  quoted,  who  gives 
the  latitude  of  the  town.  For  the  case  in  point,  the  latitude  and 
longitudes  given  in  the  Arab  geographers — though  not  exact  pos- 
sibly as  to  the  number  of  degrees  and  minutes — are  worthy  of 
reliance  for  fixing  the  comparative  position  of  places.  The  figures 
to  be  quoted  prove  that  Zughar  lay  south  of  the  middle  of 
the  Dead  Sea,  while  Jericho,  of  course,  lay  north  of  this  point. 
The  latitude  in  the  Arab  geographers  was  reckoned,  as  with  us, 
south  to  north,  beginning  at  the  equator  ;  the  longitude,  west  to 
east,  beginning  at  the  Fortunate  Isles  in  the  Atlantic. 


These  are  the  figures  given  in  Abu-1  Fida  (text,  pp.  39,  48) : 

North  Lat.  West  Long. 

Zughar        .  .  .  .     30°  and  a  fraction  .     57^° 

Central  point  of 'the  Dead  Sea        .     31°     .  .     59° 

Jericho        .  .  .  .     31°  and  a  fraction  .     56^° 

Baisan         ....     32%°  .  .  .58° 

Hence  Zughar  lay  about  one  degree  of  latitude  south  of  Jericho. 

The  curious  tradition  (see  p.  290)  preserved  in  Yakut  connecting 
Zughar  and  'Amman  with  the  two  incestuous  daughters  of  Lot,  is 
derived  from  Rabbinical  sources,  amplifying  the  account  given  in 
the  nineteenth  chapter  of  the  Book  of  Genesis  concerning  the  origin 
of  Ammon  and  Moab.  The  two  daughters  of  Lot  are  called  in 
the  Aramaic  writings  Rabbetha,  the  Elder,  and  Se'irta,  the  Younger, 
which  in  the  Arabic  have  become  Rubbah,  or  Rabbah^  and  Sughar 
or  Zughar.  The  name  Rubbah  is  sometimes  writen  by  mistake 
Rayyah  (by  the  omission  of  a  diacritical  point ),*  but  that  this  is 
not  the  true  reading  is  proved  by  its  position  in  the  alphabetical 
arrangement  of  Yakut's  Dictionary,  where  the  article  '  Rubbah  ' 
occurs  in  the  section  of  Rb,  not  in  Ry. 

In  regard  to  the  names  of  the  Cities  of  the  Plain  preserved  by 
Mas'udi  and  Yakut,  it  is  worthy  of  note  (in  view  of  a  possible 
identification  of  the  site  with  some  existing  ruin),  that  Gomorrah 
figures  as  'Amura,  with  the  initial  letter  'A in  in  place  of  Ghain  ; 
thus  preserving  the  transcription  found  in  the  Hebrew  text  where 
we  have  Amorah — the  pronunciation  of  Gomorrah  having  been 
adopted  into  our  Bible  from  the  Greek  Septuagint  version. t 

Though  Zughar  was  such  a  large  and  well-known  town  during 
all  the  Middle  Ages,  no  traces  apparently  remain  of  it  at  the  pre- 
sent day ;  at  any  rate,  none  have  been  described  by  modern  tra- 
vellers, who  have  visited  the  southern  shores  of  the  Dead  Sea. 
The  same  remark  has  also  to  be  made  regarding  any  remains  of 
the  other  Cities  of  Lot  mentioned  by  the  Arab  geographers. 

Our  first  description  of  Zughar  is  the  account  given  by  Istakhri 
and  Ibn  Haukal,  in  the  latter  half  of  the  tenth  century  A.D.  : 

*  See  in  the  Index,  s.v.  'Kabbah.' 

t  A  full  discussion  of  Segor,  Sodom,  and  Gomorrah  will  be  found  in  a  paper 
by  M.  Clermont  Ganneau  in  the  Quarterly  Statement  of  the  Palestine  Explora- 
tion Fund,  1886,  p.  19. 


"  /ughar  is  a  city  of  heat  lying  in  a  hot  country  situated  very 
near  the  desert,  but  it  is  full  of  good  things.  They  grow  here 
much  indigo,  which,  however,  for  dye  purposes,  does  not  come  up 
to  that  of  Kabul.  The  trade  of  the  place  is  considerable,  and  its 
markets  are  greatly  frequented. 

"  In  Zughar  there  is  a  species  of  fresh  date  called  Al  Inkila,4 
the  equal  of  which  you  will  not  find  in  'Irak  or  elsewhere  for 
sweetness  and  beauty  of  appearance.  It  is  saffron  coloured  and 
of  exquisite  quality,  and  four  (dates)  go  to  a  span  length  "  (or  "  to 
a  pound."  I.  H.). 

"  The  Country  of  Lot's  People  (Diydr  Kaum  Lut)  is  that  known 
as  the  Overturned,  or  the  Accursed.  There  is  here  neither  seed 
sown,  nor  milch  kine  grown,  nor  herb  nor  plant  of  any  kind.  It 
is  a  black  plain  strewn  over  with  stones  all  of  about  equal  size. 
Apparently  these  are  the  *  Marked  Stones  '  (mentioned  in  the 
Kuran,  ix.  84),  which  were  cast  down  on  the  people  of  Lot.  On 
most  of  these  stones  there  is  what  looks  like  the  impress  of  a  seal; 
and  they  resemble  in  appearance  cheeses,  and  are  extraordinary 
for  their  size  and  roundness."  (Is.,  64  ;  I.  H.,  1 24,  copied  by 
A.  R,  228.) 

Mas'udi,  writing  in  943  A.D.,  notes  that  "the  Cities  of  Lot's 
People  were  in  the  Jordan  Territory  in  the  Province  of  Filastin. 
There  were  five  cities,  of  which  the  capital  was  Sadum.  The 
name  of  each  of  their  Kings  in  turn  was  Bari',  as  mentioned  in 
the  Pentateuch. "t  (Mas.,  iii.  222.) 

"The  five  cities  of  Lot  were  called  Sadum,  'Amura  (Gho- 
morrah),  Admuta  (Admah),  Sa'ura  (Zoar),  and  Sabura  (Zeboim)." 
(Mas.,  i.  85.) 

Of  Sughar,  Mukaddasi  writes,  in  the  tenth  century  :  "  The 
people  of  the  two  neighbouring  districts  call  the  town  Sakar  (that 
is,  Hell) ;  and  a  native  of  Jerusalem  was  wont  to  write  from  here 
to  his  friends,  addressing,  From  the  lower  Sakar  (Hell)  unto  those 
in  the  upper  Firdtis  (Paradise).  And  verily  this  is  a  country  that 
is  deadly  to  the  stranger,  for  its  water  is  execrable ;  and  he  who 

*  Inkild  dates  are,  perhaps,  those  the  ancients  knew  by  the  name  of  NinroXaoi.' 
.See  Mover's  Phtrnicia,  iii.  I,  234. 

t  Gen.  xiv.  2  :  '  These  made  war  with  Bera,  King  of  Sodom.' 



should  find  that  the  Angel  of  Death  delays  for  him,  let  him  come 
here,  for  in  all  Islam  I  know  not  of  any  place  to  equal  it  in  evil 
climate.  I  have  seen  other  lands  that  were  stricken  by  the  plague 
but  none  so  badly  as  this,  not  even  the  land  of  Jurjan  (in  Persia). 
Its  people  are  black-skinned  and  thick-net.  Its  waters  are  hot, 
even  as  though  the  place  stood  over  Hell-fire.  On  the  other  hand, 
its  commercial  prosperity  is  like  Busrah  (the  port  of  Baghdad)  on 
a  small  scale,  and  its  trade  is  very  lucrative  The  town  stands  on 
the  shore  of  the  Overwhelming  Lake  (the  Dead  Sea),  and  is,  in 
truth,  a  remnant  of  the  Cities  of  Lot,  being  the  one  that  was  saved 
by  reason  that  its  inhabitants  knew  nothing  of  the  abominations 
practised  in  the  other  cities.  The  mountains  rise  up  near,  and 
overhang  the  town."  (Muk.,  178  ;  copied  by  Yak.,  iii.  396.) 

"  Between  Palestine  and  the  Hijjaz,  that  is,  between  Ar  Ramlah 
and  Wailah,  are  the  stones  which  were  cast  at  the  people  of  Lot. 
They  lie  along  the  Pilgrim  Road,  being  striped,  and  of  size  both 
large  and  small."  (Muk.,  185.) 

The  tradition  of  Lot's  Daughters,  given  by  Yakut,  is  repeated 
twice,  and  then  again  referred  to  in  his  article  on  'Amman  (see 
Part  II.).  Zughar  is  also  connected  with  other  Muslim  legends, 
namely  those  relating  to  the  events  that  announce  the  Day  of 

Yakut's  account  is  as  follows  : 

"  Zughar  is  a  village  in  the  Eastlands  of  Syria  on  the  borders  of 
the  Stinking  Lake  (the  Dead  Sea).  The  Lake  is  called  after  it 
Bahr  Zughar.  It  is  near  Al  Karak.  Zughar  was  the  name  of  the 
Daughter  of  Lot  who  dwelt  at  this  place,  and  from  her  the  town 
was  called.  It  lies  three  days'  march  from  Jerusalem  on  the 
Hijjaz  border,  and  they  have  much  arable  land  here.  Zughar  is- 
mentioned  in  the  Tradition  of  the  Spy,  called  Al  Jassasah,  which  is- 
a  Beast  lying  in  the  Isles  of  the  Sea  who  spies  for  news  and  carries 
it  to  the  Antichrist,  who  is  called  Ad  Dajjal.  She  is  also  called 
*  the  Beast  of  the  Earth.'  The  spring,  'Am  Zughar,  will  sink  dowrr 
in  the  End  of  Days,  and  this  is  one  of  the  signs  of  the  Resurrection. 

"  A  man  of  the  people  of  Tamim  ad  Dari  relates  that  he  and 
his  companions  were  driven  to  a  certain  island  in  the  sea  by  a 
contrary  wind,  and  they  found  there  a  Beast.  They  inquired.. 


'Who  art  thou  ?'  The  Beast  answered,  'I  am  she  who  spies.' 
Then  said  they,  '  Give  us  news.'  But  she  replied,  '  If  ye  want 
news,  then  turn  to  this  Monastery,  where  is  a  man  who  hath  desire 
to  see  you.'  So  the  men  went  to  him,  and  he  said,  *  Verily  ye 
must  inform  me,  and  give  me  news.'  Said  he,  continuing,  *.What 
doth  the  Lake  of  Tabariyyah  ?'  They  replied,  '  It  laves  its 
borders.'  Said  he,  '  What  doth  the  Palm  of  'Amman  and  that  of 
Baisan?'  They  replied,  'The  people  thereof  gather  the  fruits.' 
Said  he,  'What  doth  the  Spring  of  Zughar?'  They  replied,  'The 
people  thereof  drink  of  it.'  Then  said  he,  '  Had  it  been  dry,  I 
had  broken  my  truce,  and  trod  under  my  feet  all  the  water-stations, 
all  except  those  at  Makkah  and  Al  Madinah  alone.'  And  this 
Zughar  is  that  which  is  beside  the  Stinking  Sea." 

"  Ibn  'Abbas  further  relates  :  When  the  people  of  Lot  perished, 
Lot  fled  with  his  daughters,  intending  to  go  to  Syria.  But  the  eldest 
of  his  daughters,  who  was  called  Rubbah,  died  first,  and  she  was 
buried  at  a  spring  which  was  called  after  her  'Ain  Rubbah.  Then 
after  this  the  younger  died  also,  and  her  name  was  Zughar,  and 
she  was  buried  near  a  spring,  which  was  called  after  her  'Ain 

"  This  valley  (in  which  Zughar  lies)  is  most  unhealthy,  and  its 
people  only  continue  to  dwell  there  because  it  is  their  native  place. 
They  are  afflicted  in  most  years  with  the  plague,  and  it  kills  the 
greater  number  of  them."  (Yak.,  ii.  934  ;  Mar.,  i.  514.) 

"  The  name  of  Zughar,  according  to  the  same  authorities,  is 
also  spelt  Sughar  and  Sukar"  (Yak.,  iii.  396;  Mar.,  ii.  159.) 

Of  the  other  cities  of  the  plain  mentioned  by  Yakut  are  the 
following : 

"  Dadhuma,  one  of  the  villages  of  the  People  of  Lot."  Possibly 
the  Biblical  Admah.  (Yak.,  ii.  516  ;  Mar,  i.  381.) 

'Amura  (Gomorrah)  said  to  be  "  a  Hebrew  word,  and  one  of 
the  Cities  of  Lot's  people."  (Yak.,  iii.  594.) 

"Sadum  (Sodom),  is  one  of  the  cities  of  Lot's  people.  Sadum, 
however,  says  Al  Madaini,  is  the  city  of  Sarmin,  of  the  Halab 
(Aleppo)  District,  and  is  a  well-known  and  populous  place.  There 
is  an  edict  in  force  here,  that  whosoever  commits  fornication,  there 
is  taken  from  him  a  fine  of  four  Dirhams."  (Yak.,  iii.  59  ;  Mar., 
ii.  18.) 



"  Sabwayaim  (Seboim).  One  of  the  cities  of  the  people  of  Lot." 
(Yak.,  iii.  367  ;  Mar.,  ii.  146.) 

Finally,  under  the  heading  of  Ar  Rubbah,  or  Ar  Rabbah,  the 
tradition  of  Lot's  Daughters  is  given  again  by  Yakut  in  the  follow- 
ing words  : 

"  Ar  Rubbah  is  a  village  on  the  side  of  the  Ghaur,  lying  between 
the  lands  of  the  Jordan  and  Balka  Provinces.  According  to  the 
tradition  related  by  Ibn  'Abbas  :  When  Lut  (Lot)  fled  from  his 
home,  he  had  with  him  his  two  daughters,  one  of  whom  was  called 
Rubbah  and  the  other  Sughar.  And  the  elder  of  them  died,  that 
is  Rubbah,  near  a  spring,  and  was  buried  there.  And  they  called 
the  spring  after  her  'Ain  Rubbah,  and  built  over  it  a  town  called 
Rubbah.  And  Zughar,  the  younger  daughter,  died  at  'Ain  Zughar, 
which  was  in  like  manner  called  after  her."  (Yak.,  ii.  752  ;  Mar., 
i.  460.) 

Among  later  accounts  of  Zughar  the  following  note  by  Dimasliki, 
written  about  the  year  1300,  is  the  only  one  worth  translating: 

"  Zughar  lies  in  the  district  of  As  Safiyah  in  the  Ghaur.  There 
grows  here  a  kind  of  date  like  those  called  Al  Barani  and  Al  Izad 
in  'Irak."  (Dim  ,  213.) 

Besides  those  already  given,  the  following  notes  of  distances 
between  Zughar  and  the  neighbouring  towns  are  worth  inserting,  as 
tending  to  prove  that  this  city  lay  at  the  south  end  of  the  Dead  Sea  : 

Zughar  to  Riha  (Jericho),  two  days.     (Is.,  I.H.,  Id.) 

To  Jabal  ash  Sharah,  one  day.     (Is.,  I.H.) 

And  to  the  further  limit  of  the  same,  two  days.     (Id.) 

Zughar  to  Kawus,  one  march.  (Muk.)  To  Maab,  one  march. 

To  Wailah,  four  marches.     (Muk.) 

THE    WELL    OF    THE    LEAF.* 

"  Al  Kalt,"  writes  Yakut,  "  is  a  place  in  Syria  where  there  is  a 
well  called  Bir  al  Kalt. 

"  The  tradition  concerning  this  well  is  as  follows  :  Hisham  ibn 
Muhammad  reports  that  Ibn  'Abd  ar  Rahman  the  Kuraishite 
related  to  him  the  following,  which  he  received  from  the  wife  of 
*  See  also  p.  198. 


Shuraik  ibn  Habashah  an  Numairi.  Said  she  :  *  We  set  out  with 
the  Khalif  'Omar  ibn  Al  Khattab  in  the  days  when  he  went  (from 
Al  Madinah)  up  to  Syria,  and  we  halted  at  a  place  called  Al  Kalt. 
Then  my  husband,  Shuraik,  went  to  draw  water,  and  he  let  fall  his 
bucket  in  (the  well  of)  Al  Kalt,  and  could  not  get  it  again  because 
of  the  press  of  men.  And  one  said  to  him,  "  Put  it  off  till  the 
night-time."  So  when  the  evening  was  come  he  descended  into 
(the  well  of)  Al  Kalt,  but  did  not  return.  The  next  day  'Omar 
wished  to  set  out  on  the  march,  but  I  went  to  him  and  told  him 
of  my  husband's  being  missing,  and  he  tarried  during  three  days, 
but  on  the  fourth  was  preparing  to  depart,  when,  behold,  Shuraik 
appeared.  The  people  inquired  of  him,  "  Where  hast  thou  been?" 
But  he  (answered  not,  and)  went  before  'Omar.  And  in  his  hand 
he  held  a  leaf,  but  the  face  of  the  leaf  was  hidden,  for  the  back 
curled  over  and  hid  it.  Said  he,  "  O  Commander  of  the  Faithful  ! 
verily  I  found  in  the  (well  of)  Al  Kalt  a  way,  and  one  met  me 
coming,  and  took  me  to  a  land  the  like  of  which  is  not  among 
your  lands,  with  gardens  the  like  of  which  is  not  among  the  gardens 
of  this  world.  And  I  asked  that  he  would  give  me  something, 
but  he  replied  that  this  was  not  the  time  for  such  things.  But  I 
took  this  leaf,  and  behold,  it  is  as  the  leaf  of  a  fig-tree."  Then 
'Omar  called  to  Ka'ab  al  Ahbar*  and  said,  "Hast  thou  not 
found  in  thy  (Jewish)  Books,  that  a  certain  man  of  our  people 
should  enter  Paradise  and  yet  return  again  alive  ?"  Said  he,  "  Yea 
verily,  and  if  he  be  among  these  men,  I  will  point  him  out  unto 
thee."  Said  'Omar,  "  He  is  even  among  these  men."  So  (Ka'ab) 
looked  at  them  and  pondered,  and  said,  "This  is  he."  And 
(:0mar)  proclaimed  that  the  dress  of  the  Bani  Numair  should 
henceforth  be  green  (as  it  is)  even  to  this  present  day.'  Here 
ends  the  account."  (Yak.,  iv.  157  ;  Mar.,  ii.  439.) 


"Urim,''  says  Yakut,  ''is  the    name  of   each  of  four  villages 
belonging   to    Halab    (Aleppo)   Province.      These  are,    Urim   al 
Kubra  (the  Great),  tlrim  as  Sughra  (the  Little),  Urim  al  Jauz  (of 
the  Nut),  and  Urim  al  Baramakah  (of  the  Barmecides). 
*  Concerning  this  personage  see  note  to  p.  142. 


"  In  Urim  al  Jauz  is  a  marvellous  sight.  For  there  is  here  a 
building  which  was  in  ancient  times  a  Temple,  and  the  people  of 
the  neighbouring  villages  were  used  to  see  shining  in  it  a  light  as 
of  a  white  fire,  but  when  they  approached  thereto  it  disappeared, 
and  they  could  see  nothing.  It  has  been  related  to  me  by  certain 
persons  in  Halab  that  on  this  building  were  once  three  tablets  of 
stone  with  inscriptions,  in  ancient  writing,  to  be  interpreted  as 
follows.  On  the  tablet  facing  south  it  was  written  : 

"  God  is  One  !  this  edifice  was  completed  three  hundred  and  twenty  - 
eight  years  before  the  coming  of  the  Messiah — -peace  be  upon  Him  ! 

"  On  the  tablet  that  was  over  the  doorway  was  written  : 

"  Peace  be  on  him  who  hath  completed  this  edifice. 

"  And  on  the  tablet  to  the  north  was  written  : 

"  This  is  the  light  of  the  East,  beloved  of  God,  which  came  to  us 
in  the  days  of  Al  Barbar,  in  the  days  of  renewed  conquest,  in  the 
days  of  the  King  Indwiis  and  Inds  of  the  Sea  who  came  to  the  House. 
And  Kaldsds,  and  Kdsurus,  and  Baldbiya.  On  the  izth  of  the 
month  /////,  of  the  date  above  mentioned.  May  peace  continue  even 
unto  /he  latter  end  of  the  World  and  the  time  of  righteousness." 
(Yak.,  i  401  ;  Mar.,  i.  102.) 

'AIN    AL    JARAH,    AND    THE    MENHIR. 

'Ain  al  Jarah,  according  to  Yakut,  is  a  domain  near  Halab 
(Aleppo).  He  continues  : 

"Abu  'Ali  at  Tanukhi  al  Husain  ibn  Bint  Ghulam  al  Babagha 
has  related  to  me  (Yakut)  the  following  account,  which  he  further 
wrote  down  for  me  in  his  own  hand,  certifying  to  the  truth 
thereof : 

"  There  was  (said  he)  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Halab  a  domain 
called  'Ain  Jarah,  and  between  this  place  and  Al  Haunah, 
which  some  also  call  Al  Jaumah,  was  an  upright  stone,  as  might 
be  for  a  boundary  between  the  two  domains.  Now,  whenever  a 
quarrel  fell  out  between  any  of  the  inhabitants  of  these  two 
domains,  the  people  of  Al  Haunah  were  wont  to  proceed  and 
throw  down  this  standing  stone.  As  soon,  however,  as  the  stone 
had  fallen,  the  women-folk  of  the  two  domains  would  come  out 
publicly  and  in  all  their  ornaments,  but  as  though  deprived  of 


their  reason  ;  and  they  would  seek  to  commit  fornication,  neither 
were  they  to  be  restrained  in  the  madness  that  possessed  them  by 
any  sense  of  shame.  To  prevent  this  the  men  would  hasten  to 
the  stone  and  set  it  up  again  as  it  was  before,  standing  erect  and 
firm;  after  which  the  women  would  return  to  their  houses,  regaining 
the  discrimination  of  matters  such  as  are  abhorrent  to  commit. 

"  Says  the  writer  (Yakut)  :  I  inquired  at  Halab  for  this  domain, 
and  they  told  me  of  it,  and  they  mentioned  that  there  was  near 
by,  in  a  ravine  like  a  torrent  bed,  a  standing  column  ;  what  this 
had  been  was  not  known  ;  neither  had  these  people  any  knowledge 
of  this  story  that  had  been  related  unto  me,  to  the  effect  that 
when  the  stone  was  thrown  down,  the  women  (of  the  districts) 
would  become  possessed  by  erotic  desires.  'Ain  al  Jarah  is  a 
celebrated  domain,  and  one  that  is  well  known  to  all  the  inhabit- 
ants of  Halab."  (Yak.,  iii.  760;  Mar.,  ii.  295.) 

The  story  of  the  Menhir,  near  'Ain  Jarah,  is  curious  if  true. 
The  present  village  of  the  name  lies  north-west  of  Aleppo,  near 
the  road  to  Iskandarun. 


Ya'kubi,  in  the  ninth  century  A.D.,  writes  "  Ba'albakk  is  one 
of  the  finest  towns  in  Syria.  It  has  magnificent  sti-ne  buildings; 
and  there  is  also  a  wonderful  spring,  from  which  issues  a  copious 
river.  Within  the  town  are  both  gardens  and  orchards.  Many 
Persians  are  settled  here."  (Yb.,  112,  114.) 

"The  stones  of  Ba'albakk,"  says  Ibn  al  Fakih,  "are  one  of 
the  wonders  of  Syria.  There  are  here  stones,  the  smallest  of 
which  measures  15  ells;  while  the  largest  of  them,  a  single  stone 
in  the  wall,  measures  10  ells  (15  feet)  in  the  height,  by  15  ells 
(22  feet)  in  the  breadth,  and  45  ells  (67  feet)  in  the  length."* 
(I.  F,  118.) 

Mas'ildi,  in  943,  writes :  "  At  Ba'albakk,  in  the  Province  of 
1  )amascus,  in  the  district  of  Sanir,  is  the  Temple  of  Ba'al.  The 
ancient  Greeks  chose  this  piece  of  ground,  lying  between  the 

*  According  to  Baedeker  (Syria,  p.  499),  the  three  largest  stones  in  the  west 
wall  of  the  Temple  measure  64,  63^,  and  62  feet  in  length,  by  13  feet  in  thick- 
ness ;  what  the  breadth  is  cannot  be  seen. 


Jabal  Lubnan  (Lebanon)  and  the  Jabal  Sanir,  for  the  building  of 
their  temple,  as  being  a  choice  place  for  their  idols.  The  temple 
consists  of  two  edifices,  one  larger  than  the  other ;  and  in  both  of 
them  are  sculptures,  most  marvellously  cut  in  the  stone,  such  as 
you  will  not  find  the  like  of  executed  elsewhere,  even  in  wood. 
For  the  height  of  the  roof,  the  hugeness  of  the  stones,  the  length 
of  the  columns,  and  the  breadth  of  the  porticos,  are  not  more 
wonderful  than  is  the  building  as  a  whole."  (Mas.,  iv.  87,) 

Istakhri  and  Ibn  Haukal  write :  "  Ba'albakk,  in  the  Damascus 
Province,  is  a  city  lying  on  the  hill-slope.  All  its  edifices  are  of 
stone,  with  castles  (Kustir)  of  stone  built  with  high  columns.  In 
all  Syria  there  is  no  place  more  wonderful  to  see,  or  with  greater 
buildings."  (Is.,  61 ;  I.  H.,  116.) 

In  Mukaddasi  we  read  :  "  Ba'albakk  is  an  ancient  and  fortified 
city.  Within  the  ramparts  are  cultivated  lands,  also  many  ruins. 
Grapes  are  in  abundance.  Like  the  other  cities  of  the  Province 
of  Damascus,  Ba'albakk  is  prosperous  and  pleasant,  being  situated 
in  the  lands  bordering  on  the  Nahr  al  Maklub  (the  river  Orontes). 
Ba'albakk  is  noted  as  being  the  coldest  place  in  Syria.  It  is 
celebrated  for  the  sweetmeat  called  Malban."  (Muk.,  160,  179, 
and  181  ;  see  above,  p.  20.) 

Idrisi's  account  in  1 154  is  the  following  :  "  Ba'albakk  is  a  fortified 
town  on  the  mountain  flank.  It  is  surrounded  by  a'wall  of  fortifi- 
cation, built  of  stone  that  is  20  spans  ( '  hibr)  in  width.  Water  runs 
through  the  town,  and  passes  also  through  most  of  the  houses. 
On  the  river  near  the  town  are  mills  and  water-wheels.  The  place 
has  many  crops,  luxuriant  vegetation,  and  quantities  of  fruit.  The 
presses  overflow  with  grapes,  and  there  are  trees  that  give  all  sorts 
of  edible  fruits,  so  that  provisions  are  cheap.  At  Ba'albakk  are 
the  most  wonderful  edifices  and  ruins,  which  are  everywhere 
celebrated  for  their  magnificence  and  the  solidity  of  their  con- 
struction. There  are  especially  two  wonderful  buildings  that 
were  theatres  (al  Mal'abain),  one  the  larger,  the  other  the  smaller. 
The  larger,  ft  is  said,  was  built  in  the  days  of  Solomon,  the  son 
of  David,  and  it  is  most  wondrous  to  look  on.  There  are  in  it 
stones  of  the  length  of  TO  cubits,  some  more,  some  less.  And 
there  is  also  a  part  that  is  built  up  on  high  columns,  and  most 


astonishing  to  behold.  The  smaller  theatre  is,  for  the  greater 
part,  fallen  into  ruin,  and  its  glories  are  of  the  past.  There  is 
standing  at  the  present  time  but  a  portion  of  its  wall,  of  the 
length  of  20  cubits.  It  rises  to  a  height  above  the  floor  of 
20  cubits,  and  there  are  in  its  construction  but  seven  stones,  one 
stone  being  at  the  bottom,  and  two  stones  lying  thereon,  and  four 
stones  being  placed  on  the  two.  In  this  town  of  Ba'albakk  are 
all  sorts  of  other  wondrous  buildings."  (Id.,  15.) 

Yakut  speaks  in  general  terms  of  the  wonderful  remains  at 
Ba'albakk,  consisting  of  palaces  with  marble  columns  :  "  The 
city,"  he  says,  "lies  12  leagues  distant  from  the  sea-coast,  and 
3  days  from  Damascus.  Ba'al  was  the  name  of  an  idol,  and 
Bakk  is  its  neck,  or  the  thin  part  of  its  body.  They  say  Ba'al- 
bakk formed  the  dowry  of  Queen  Balkis  (of  Sheba),  and  that 
Solomon's  palace  here  was  the  one  built  on  columns.  Ba'albakk, 
at  the  Muslim  conquest,  capitulated  after  Damascus  was  taken. 
Jabal  Sanir  belonged  to  Ba'albakk.  The  Greeks  built  an  idol 
temple  here.  Ba'al  was  the  idol  of  the  people,  to  whom  the 
Prophet  Iliyas  (Elias)  was  sent.  There  are  two  temples  here — 
one  larger,  one  smaller — filled  with  wonderful  sculptures  carved  in 
the  stone  as  though  it  were  wood,  and  high  columns."  (Yak., 
i.  672,  675  ;  Mar.,  i.  162.) 

"  Ba'albakk,"  writes  Dimashki,  "  is  a  very  ancient  city,  with 
remains  of  the  times  of  Abraham,  Moses,  Solomon,  and  the 
Greeks.  There  are  here  columns  reaching  a  height  of  40  ells, 
not  counting  the  bases,  which  are  buried  under  ground.  These 
are  held  together  above  by  great  blocks  of  stone,  going  from 
capital  to  capital.  In  the  Cast'e  of  Ba'albakk  are  two  towers,  in 
the  wall  of  which  are  three  great  stones,  each  stone  measuring 
36  paces  in  length,  and  nearly  twice  a  man's  height  in  thickness, 
and  as  broad  as  the  walls  themselves.  In  the  castle  is  a  well 
called  Bir  ar  Rahman  (the  Well  of  Mercy) ;  and  they  say  there  is 
never  water  in  it  so  long  as  peace  lasts,  but  when  a  siege  takes 
place,  and  terrors  begin,  it  fills  with  water,  which  supplies  the 
people  till  peace  is  made,  when  the  water  again  disappears." 
(Dim.,  199.) 

Abu-1  P'ida,  writing  in   1321,  a  few  years  later  than  Dimashki, 


says :  "  Ba'albakk,  in  the  Damascus  Province,  lies  among  the 
hills.  It  is  a  very  ancient  city,  having  walls  and  a  strong  fortress 
very  well  built.  It  possesses  trees,  and  streams,  and  springs,  and 
is  filled  with  good  things.  Muhallabi  says  that  of  old  it  was  a 
very  beautiful  city,  being  the  place  of  sacrifice  of  the  Sabseans. 
One  of  their  temples,  which  was  held  in  high  honour,  was  here. 
From  Ba'albakk  to  Az  Zabadani  is  18  miles."  (A.  F.,  255.) 

Ba'albakk  was  visited  in  1355  by  Ibn  Batutah.  He  describes 
it  as  "a  fine  city,  surrounded  by  gardens  and  orchards  that 
almost  equal  those  of  Damascus.  There  are  here  cherries  called 
Habb  al  Muluk  (King's  Cherries),  such  as  are  found  nowhere  else. 
There  is,  too,  a  kind  of  Dibs  (molasses),  called  after  Ba'albakk, 
which  is  a  syrup  made  from  raisins,  and  they  add  thereto  a 
powder  which  makes  it  harden.  Afterwards  they  break  the  pot 
in  which  it  is  made,  and  it  remains  all  of  one  piece.  From  it  is 
made  a  sweetmeat  called  Al  Halwah,  by  putting  in  pistachios  and 
almonds.  This  sweetmeat  is  named  also  Al  Mulabban.  They 
call  it  also  Jald  al  Faras  (Penis  equi\  They  make  in  Ba'albakk 
stuffs  for  clothes,  also  wooden  platters  and  spoons.  These  last 
are  made  to  fit  one  inside  the  other,  in  nests,  to  the  number  of 
ten."  (I.  B.,  i.  185.) 

BAIT    LAHM    (ttETHLEHb.M  ). 

"The  village  of  Bait  Lahm  lies  6  miles  to  the  south  of 
Jerusalem.  It  is  the  birthplace  of  Jesus,  and  there  is  shown  here 
in  the  church  a  portion  of  the  palm-tree  from  the  fruit  of  which 
Mary  ate.  This  is  much  venerated,  and  is  preserved  with  every 
care."  (Is.,  57  ;  I.  H.,  112;  copied  by  A.  F.,  141.) 

"Bait  Lahm,"  says  Mukaddasi,  "is  a  village  about  a  league 
from  Jerusalem,  in  the  direction  of  Hebron.  Jesus  was  born 
here,  whereupon  there  grew  up  here  the  palm-tree  (mentioned  in 
the  Kuran,  xix.  25) ;  for  although  in  this  district  palms  are  never 
found,  this  one  grew  by  a  miracle.  There  is  also  a  church  (the 
Basilica  of  Constantine),  the  equal  of  which  does  not  exist  any- 
where in  the  country  round."  (Muk.,  172.) 

The  traveller  Nasir-i-Khusrau  visited  Bethlehem  in  1047.  He 
writes  in  his  Diary :  "  At  the  distance  of  a  league  from  the  Holy 


City  is  a  place  belonging  to  the  Christians,  which  they  hold  in 
greatest  veneration ;  and  there  are  always  numerous  pilgrims  of 
their  people  who  come  hither  to  perform  the  visitation.  The 
place  is  called  Bait  al  Lahm  (Bethlehem).  The  Christians  hold  a 
festival  here,  and  many  will  come  for  it  all  the  way  from  Rum  (or 
the  Greek  Empire).  The  day  I  myself  left  the  Holy  City  I 
passed  the  night  at  Bethlehem."  (N.  Kh.,  53.) 

Idrisi,  in  1154,  gives  the  following  account  of  Bethlehem, 
derived  probably  from  Christian  pilgrims  whom  he  met  in  Sicily  : 
"  Bait  Lahm  is  the  place  where  the  Lord  Messiah  was  born,  and 
it  lies  6  miles  distant  from  Jerusalem.  Half-way  down  the  road 
is  the  tomb  of  Rachel  (Rahil),  the  mother  of  Joseph  and  of 
Benjamin,  the  two  sons  of  Jacob — peace  upon  them  all !  The 
tomb  is  covered  by  twelve  stones,  and  above  it  is  a  dome  vaulted 
over  with  stones.  At  Bethlehem  is  a  church  that  is  beautifully 
built,  of  solid  foundation,  spacious,  and  finely-ornamented  even 
to  the  uttermost,  so  that  nowhere  among  all  other  churches  can 
be  seen  its  equal.  It  is  situated  in  a  low-lying  piece  of  ground. 
The  gate  thereof  is  towards  the  west,  and  there  are  (in  the 
church)  marble  columns  of  perfect  beauty.  In  one  angle  of  the 
choir  (al  Haikal\  towards  the  north,  is  a  cave  wherein  the  Lord 
Messiah  was  born.  It  lies  below  the  church,  and  in  this  cave  is 
the  manger  wherein  the  Messiah  was  found.  As  you  go  out  from 
Bethlehem,  you  see  towards  the  east  the  Church  of  the  Angels, 
who  told  the  good  news  of  the  birth  of  the  Lord  Messiah  to  the 
shepherds."  (Id.,  9.) 

"  Between  Jerusalem  and  Bethlehem,"  writes  'AH  of  Herat, 
"  is  the  tomb  of  Rahil  (Rachel),  mother  of  Joseph.  Bait  Lahm 
is  the  name  of  the  village  where  Jesus  was  born.  There  are  here 
the  tombs  of  David  and  Solomon — peace  be  on  them  both  ! 
There  is  also  a  church  most  wonderfully  built  with  marble,  and 
gold  mosaics,  and  columns.  The  date  of  its  building  is  more 
than  1 200  years  ago,*  as  is  shown  by  an  inscription  on  a  wooden 
beam,  which  has  not  suffered  damage  even  down  to  our  own  days. 
There  is  here  the  place  of  the  palm-tree  mentioned  in  the  Kuran, 

*  The  Basilica  was  built  by  Constantine  about  330  A.D. 


also  the  Mihrab  of  the  Khalif  'Omar,  which  has  in  no  wise  been 
damaged  by  the  Franks."     (A.  H.,  Oxf.  MS.,  folio  41  v.) 

"  Bait  Lahm,"  writes  Yakut  in  the  thirteenth  century,  "  is  the 
place  where  Jesus  was  born.*  It  is  a  town  near  Jerusalem. 
There  are  fine  markets  here.  There  was  here  the  palm-tree  men- 
tioned in  the  Kuran.  Palms  do  net  come  to  maturity  in  these 
regions,  and  this  one  is  an  exception.  It  is  mentioned  in  the 
Kuran,  and  gave  dates  to  Mary  when  she  fled  into  Egypt,  being  a 
miracle  vouchsafed  to  her — so  runs  the  legend.  There  is  here  a 
Church,  the  like  of  which  is  none  other  in  the  country  round. 
When  the  Khalif  'Omar  was  come  to  Jerusalem,  a  monk  of  Bait 
Lahm  approached  him  and  said,  *  I  would  obtain  mercy  of  thee 
for  Bait  Lahm.'  Said  'Omar,  'I  know  nought  of  the  place,  but 
would  fain  see  it.'  When  'Omar  was  come  there,  he  said  to  the 
people,  '  Ye  shall  have  mercy  and  safe  conduct,  but  it  is  incum- 
bent upon  us  that  in  every  place  where  there  are  Christians 
we  should  erect  a  mosque.'  The  monk  answered,  *  There  is  in 
Bait  Lahm  an  arched  building  (Haniyyah\  which  is  built  so  as  to 
be  turned  towards  your  KibJah ;  take  this,  therefore,  and  make  of 
it  a  mosque  for  the  Muslims,  and  do  not  destroy  the  church.'  So 
'Omar  spared  the  church,  saying  his  prayer  in  that  arched  building, 
and  made  of  it  a  mosque,  laying  on  the  Christians  the  service  of 
lighting  it  with  lamps  and  keeping  the  building  clean  and  in 
repair.  The  Muslims  have  never  ceased  to  visit  Bait  Lahm 
(in  pilgrimage),  and  go  to  this  arched  building  to  make  their 
prayers  therein,  one  generation  after  the  other,  which  same  is  the 
building  of  'Omar.  It  is  well  known  by  this  name  down  to  the 
present  day,  for  the  Franks  (Crusaders)  changed  nought  when 
they  took  the  country.  They  say  there  are  here  the  tombs  of 
David  and  of  Solomon — peace  be  on  them!"  (Yak.,  i.  779; 
Mar.,  i.  187.) 

*  It  is,  perhaps,  not  uninteresting  to  note  that  Yakut  also  speaks  of  Ahnas, 
in  Egypt,  to  the  west  of  the  Nile,  and  not  far  from  Fustat  (old  Cairo),  as  the 
place  where  the  Messiah  was  said  to  have  been  born.  "  Mary,  furthtr,  remained 
there  till  He  was  grown  and  then  set  out  for  Syria."  (Yak.,  i.  409;  Mar.,  i.  105.) 
The  palm-tree  mentioned  in  the  Koran,  xix.  25,  was,  writes  Yakut,  shown  here. 



Mas'udi  in  943  writes  : 

"It  is  said  that  the  Messiah  lived  at  a  village  called  Nasirah, 
which  is  in  the  district  of  Al  Lajjtin  (Legio,  Megiddo)  of  the 
Jordan  Province  ;  also  that  the  Christians  (An  Nasraniyyah)  are 
called  so  from  this  place.  I  myself  have  seen  in  this  village  a 
church  greatly  venerated  by  the  Christians.  There  are  here  sarco- 
phagi of  stone,  in  which  are  dead  men's  bones,  and  from  out  these 
flows  a  thick  oil,  like  syrup,  with  which  the  Christians  anoint  them- 
selves for  a  blessing."  (Mas.,  i.  123.) 

"An  Nasirah,"  writes  'AH  of  Herat  in  1173,  "is  the  city  in 
which  is  the  house  of  Maryam,  daughter  of  'Amran,  and  from  here 
she  came.  The  Christians  are  called  after  this  place.  Jabal  Sa'ir 
is  near  by."  (A.  H.,  Oxf.  MS.,  folio  31.) 

"  An  Nasirah,"  says  Yakut,  "is  a  village  lying  13  miles  distant 
from  Tabariyyah.  Here  was  born  the  Messiah  5Isa  (Jesus),  the 
Son  of  Maryam — peace  be  upon  Him  ! — and  from  the  name  ot 
Nasirah  comes  the  name  of  the  Nasariyyah  (Nazarenes,  or  Chris- 
tians). But  the  people  of  this  place  cast  dishonour  upon  Maryam, 
saying  that  from  all  time  no  virgin  had  ever  borne  a  child.  They 
have  there  an  orange  tree,  after  the  likeness  of  a  woman.  This 
orange-tree  has  two  breasts,  and  what  resembles  hands  and  feet, 
and  the  nether  parts  also  are  as  those  of  a  woman  ;  also  the 
government  of  this  place  is  with  the  women.  The  orange-tree  is 
(as  a  holy  relic),  procuring  blessings  to  the  people  from  Heaven, 
and  none  of  the  people  of  Nazareth  reject  participation  therein. 
The  people  of  Jerusalem,  however,  deny  all  this,  and  say  that  the 
Messiah  was  born  in  Bethlehem,  of  which  fact  they  have  manifest 
relics  among  them.  Further,  they  say  that  His  mother  took  Him 
and  went  to  dwell  in  this  village  (of  Nasirah).  I,  Yakut,  may  add 
that  the  text  of  the  Evangel  is  that  'Isa  (Jesus) — peace  be  upon 
Him  ! — was  born  in  Bethlehem  ;  but  that  Yusuf,  the  husband  of 
Maryam,  feared  the  wiles  of  Harudus  (Herod),  King  of  the 
Magians  ;  and  he  came  to  know  in  a  dream  that  he  must  carry  his 
Son  down  into  Egypt  for  a  time,  until  it  should  be  again  com- 
manded him  to  return  with  the  child  And  so  it  was  that  it  might 


be  fulfilled  what  the  Lord  had  made  known  by  the  tongue  of  the 
Prophet  when  He  spake,  '  Verily,  I  will  call  my  Son  out  Egypt.' 
So  Joseph  remained  in  Egypt  till  Harudus  was  dead ;  then  he 
received  in  a  dream  the  order  to  return  to  the  land  of  the  Bani 
Israil.  He  arrived  at  the  Holy  City,  but  feared  to  remain  there, 
it  having  been  the  place  of  dwelling  of  Hartidus  ;  then  it  was 
revealed  to  him  again  in  a  dream  that  he  should  depart  into  Al 
Jalil  (Galilee),  and  he  went  there,  and  settled  in  the  town  called 
Nasirah."  (Yak.,  iv.  729  ;  Mar.,  iii.  190.) 

"An  Nasirah,"  says  Dimashki,  "belongs  to  the  Safad  Province. 
It  is  a  Hebrew  city,  and  was  called  Sa'ir  (Seir).  Here  the  Messiah 
appeared,  it  being  also  the  place  where  the  angels  announced  His 
birth  to  Mary.  It  is  a  well-known  place  of  pilgrimage  for  the 
Christians,  and  is  mentioned  in  the  Pentateuch.  Jabal  as  Sa'ir 
(Mount  Seir,  mentioned  in  the  Kuran)  is  the  mountain  of  Nazareth. 
The  people  of  Nazareth  were  those  who  first  became  Christians. 
The  Arab  population  of  Nazareth  were  Yamanite  tribes,  while 
those  of  Kafar  Kanna  were  Kaisites."  (Dim.,  212.) 



Ar  Ramlah,  founded  by  the  Khalif  Sulaiman— The  White  Mosque.  Hebron  : 
The  Tombs  of  the  Patriarchs— Visits  to  the  Cave  of  Machpelah— Inven- 
tion of  the  Tomb  of  Joseph.  Acre  ('Akkah)  :  Construction  of  the  Port 
by  Ibn  Tiilun.  Tiberias  (Tabariyyah)  :  The  Thermal  Springs  and  Baths 
— The  Tomb  of  David. 


"  THE  capital  of  the  Province  of  Filastin  ;  it  was  founded  by  the 
Khalif  Sulaiman.  The  inhabitants  of  Ludd  (Lydda) — the  former 
capital — were  removed  hither,  and  Lydda  fell  to  decay.  It  has  a 
small  river,  the  water  of  which  the  inhabitants  drink ;  the  river 
Abu  Futrus  is  1 2  miles  off.  The  population  of  Ar  Ramlah  obtain 
also  their  drinking-water  both  from  wells  and  from  cisterns,  where 
they  store  up  the  rains.  The  population  of  Ar  Ramlah  is  mixed 
Arabs  and  Greeks,  also  Samaritans."  (Yb.,  116.) 

"The  Khalif  al  Walid,"  says  Biladhuri,  "made  his  brother 
Sulaiman  Governor  of  the  Province  of  Filastin,  who  took  up  his 
residence  at  Lydda.  Sulaiman  subsequently  founded  the  town  of 
Ar  Ramlah,  and  made  it  his  capital.  The  first  building  raised 
here  was  his  palace  (kasr),  and  the  house  called  Dar  as  Sabbaghin 
(the  House  of  the  Dyers).  In  this  last  he  constructed  a  huge 
cistern  to  serve  to  store  water.  Then  Sulaiman  planned  the 
Mosque,  and  began  to  build  it,  but  he  succeeded  to  the  Khalifate 
before  it  was  completed. 

"  Others  of  the  Khalifs  after  him  continued  the  building.  The 
Khalif  'Omar  ibn  'Abd  al  'Aziz  finished  it,  but  only  after  having 
diminished  the  original  plan,  and  he  said,  'The  people  of  Ar 


Ramlah  should  be  content  with  the  size  thereof  to  which  I  have 
diminished  it.'  Now  when  Sulaiman  was  building  his  own  palaces, 
he  gave  leave  to  the  people  to  build  houses  for  themselves  also, 
and  so  they  did.  And  he  dug  for  the  people  of  Ar  Ramlah  the 
water-channel  called  Baradah,  and  he  also  dug  wells  for  sweet 

"  Sulaiman  appointed  as  his  secretary  to  oversee  the  expenses 
of  his  buildings  in  Ar  Ramlah  and  for  the  Jami'  Mosque  a  certain 
Christian  of  Lydda  called  Al  Batrik  ibn  an  Nakah  (or  Al  Bakah). 
Ar  Ramlah  had  not  existed  before  the  days  of  Sulaiman,  and  the 
place  was  all  sandy  (as  the  name  Ar  Ramlah  shows).  The  Dar 
as  Sabbagh  came  afterwards  by  inheritance  to  the  Abbaside  Salih 
ibn  'AH  ibn  'Abd  Allah  ibn  al  'Abbas,  for  it  was  taken  with  their 
other  possessions  from  the  Bani  Omayyah.  Now  the  Bani 
Omayyah  had  spent  much  money  on  the  wells  of  Ar  Ramlah, 
and  the  water-channels,  after  Sulaiman's  days,  and  when  the 
Abbasides  came  to  reign,  they  also  spent  large  sums  thereon  — 
and  so  from  one  Khalif  on  to  another.  So  matters  stood  until 
the  days  of  the  Khalif  Al  Mu'tasim-billah,  and  he  gave  a  per- 
manent decree  for  these  expenses,  and  in  order  to  save  the  con- 
tinual petitions  there  anent,  commuted  the  grant  into  an  annual 
charge  to  be  defrayed  by  the  tax-farmers,  and  to  be  accounted  for 
by  them."  (Bil.,  143,  repeated  by  I.  F.,  102,  and  copied  into 
Yak.,  ii.  817.)  •• 

'*  Ar  Ramlah,"  says  Mukaddasi  in  the  tenth  century,  "  is  the 
capital  of  Palestine.  It  is  a  fine  city,  and  well  built ;  its  water  is 
good  and  plentiful ;  its  fruits  are  abundant.  It  combines  manifold 
advantages,  situated  as  it  is  in  the  midst  of  beautiful  villages  and 
lordly  towns,  near  to  holy  places  and  pleasant  hamlets.  Com- 
merce here  is  prosperous,  and  the  markets  excellent.  There  is 
no  finer  mosque  in  Islam  than  the  one  in  this  city.  The  bread  is 
of  the  best  and  the  whitest.  The  lands  are  well  favoured  above 
all  others,  and  the  fruits  are  of  the  most  luscious.  This  capital 
stands  among  fruitful  fields,  walled  towns,  and  serviceable  hospices. 
It  possesses  magnificent  hostelries  and  pleasant  baths,  dainty  food 
and  various  condiments,  spacious  houses,  fine  mosques,  and  brond 
roads.  As  a  capital  it  possesses  many  advantages.  It  is  situatcc 


on  the  plain,  and  is  yet  near  both  to  the  mountains  and  the  sea. 
There  grow  both  fig-trees  and  palms  ;  its  fields  need  no  irrigation, 
and  are  by  nature  fruitful  and  rich.     The  disadvantages,  on  the 
other  hand,  are  that  in  winter  the  place  is  a  slough  of  mud  ; 
while  in  summer  it  is  a  powder-box  of  sand,  where  no  water  flows, 
neither  is  anything  green,  nor  is  the  soil  humid,  nor  does  snow 
ever  fall.     Fleas  here  abound.     The  wells  are  deep  and  salt,  and 
the  rain-water  is  hoarded  in  closed  cisterns — hence  the  poor  go 
thirsty,  and  strangers  seek  water  in  vain.     In  the  baths  a  fee  has 
to  be  paid  before  the  servants  will  turn  the  water-wheels.     The 
city  occupies  the  area  of  a  square  mile ;  its  houses  are  built  of 
finely-quarried  stones.     The  best  known  among  its  gates  are  the 
Gate  of  the  Soldier's  Well  (Darb  Bir  al  *Askar\  the  Gate  of  the 
'Annabah  Mosque,  the  Gate  of  Jerusalem,  the  Gate  of  Bila'ah, 
the  Lydda  Gate  (Darb  Ludd\  the  Jaffa  Gate  (Darb  Yafa\  the 
Egypt  Gate  (Darb  Misr),  and  the    Dajun   Gate.     Close  to  Ar 
Ramlah  is  the  town  of  Dajun,  with  its  mosque.     It  is  inhabited 
mostly  by  Samaritans.     The  chief  mosque  of  Ar  Ramlah  is  in 
the  market,  and  it  is  even  more  beautiful  and  graceful  than  that 
of  Damascus.     It  is  called  Al  Abyad  (the  White  Mosque).     In 
all   Islam  there  is  found  no  finer  Mihrab  than  the  one  here,  and 
its  pulpit  is  the  most  splendid  to  be  seen  after  that  of  Jerusalem ; 
also  it  possesses  a  beautiful  minaret,  built  by  the  Khalif  Hisham 
ibn  'Abd  al  Malik.     I  have  heard  my  uncle  relate  that  when  this 
Khalif  was  about  to  build  the  minaret,  it  was  reported  to  him 
that  the  Christians  possessed  columns  of  marble,  at  this  time  lying 
buried    beneath    the    sand,    which   they   had   prepared   for   the 
Church  of  Bali'ah.     Thereupon  the  Khalif  Hisham  informed  the 
Christians  that  either  they  must  show  him  where  these  columns 
lay,  or  that  he  would  demolish  their  church  at  Lydda,  and  employ 
its  columns  for  the  building  of  his  mosque.     So  the  Christians 
pointed  out  where  they  had  buried  their  columns.     They  are  very 
thick,  and   tall,  and  beautiful.     The  covered  portion   (or  main- 
building)  of  the  mosque  is  flagged  with  marble,  and  the  court 
with  other  stone,  all  carefully  laid  together.     The  gates  of  the 
main-building  are  made  of  cypress-wood  and  cedar,  carved  in  the 
inner  parts,  and  very  beautiful  in  appearance."     (Muk.,  164.) 



In  his  introductory  chapter,  Mukaddasi  writes : 
"  If  Ar  Ramlah  had  only  running  water,  the  town  would  be, 
without  compare,  the  finest  in  Islam ;  for  it  is  a  pleasant  and  a 
fine  city,  standing  between  Jerusalem  and  the  frontier  towns, 
between  the  Ghaur  of  the  Jordan  and  the  sea.  Its  climate  is 
mild ;  its  fruits  are  luscious ;  its  people  generous — being,  however, 
also  rather  foolish.  It  is  the  emporium  for  Egypt,  and  an  excellent 
commercial  station  for  two  seas."  (Muk.,  36.) 

Most  of  the  gates  mentioned  by  Mukaddasi  may  be  easily 
identified.  Regarding  the  Gate  of  the  'Annabah  Mosque,  it  is  to 
be  noted  that  the  village  of  'Annabah  lies  west  of  Ar  Ramlah. 
In  St.  Jerome's  Onomasticon  it  is  mentioned  under  the  name  of 
Anab,  which  was  also  called  Betho  Annaba.* 

The  Gate  of  Ar  Ramlah,  called  Darb  Bila'ah,  and  the  village 
of  Bali'ah,  mentioned  in  the  above  account,  refer  probably  (but 
the  reading  is  somewhat  uncertain)  to  the  BibJical  "  Baalah. 
which  is  Kirjath  Jearim  "  (Joshua  xv.  9).  This  place  has  been 
identified  with  the  modern  Kari'at  al  'Inab  (see  Part  II.),  where 
may  still  be  seen  the  ruins  of  the  Church  of  St.  Jeremiah,  possibly 
the  one  alluded  to  by  Mukaddasi. 

The  next  account  of  Ramlah  is  from  the  Diary  of  Nasir-i- 
Khusrau,  who  visited  the  city  in  1047.  He  writes  : 

"  Sunday,  the  day  of  the  new  moon  of  the  month  of  Ramadan 
(March  i),  we  came  to  Ramlah.  From  Caesarea  to  Ramlah  is 
8  leagues.  Ramlah  is  a  great  city,  with  strong  walls  built  of 
stone,  mortared,  of  great  height  and  thickness,  with  iron  gates 
opening  therein.  From  the  town  to  the  sea-coast  is  a  distance  of 
3  leagues.  The  inhabitants  get  their  water  from  the  rainfall,  and 
in  each  house  is  a  tank  for  storing  the  same,  in  order  that  there 
may  always  be  a  supply.  In  the  middle  of  the  Friday  Mosque, 
also,  is  a  large  tank;  and  from  it,  when  it  is  filled  with  water, 
anyone  who  wishes  may  take.  The  area  of  the  mosque  measures 
200  paces  by  300  paces.  Over  one  of  its  porches  is  an  inscription, 
stating  that  on  Muharram  15,  of  the  year  425  (December  10, 

*  See  further  on  the  two  places  called  Betho  Annaba  and  Beth  Annabam  in 
the  Palestine  Exploration  Fund  Special  Papers,  p.  250. 


1033),  there  was  an  earthquake*  of  great  violence,  which  threw 
down  a  large  number  of  buildings,  but  that  no  single  person 
sustained-  any  injury.  In  the  city  of  Ramlah  there  is  marble  in 
plenty,  and  most  of  the  buildings  and  private  houses  are  of  this 
material ;  and,  further,  the  surface  thereof  they  do  most  beautifully 
sculpture  and  ornament.  They  cut  the  marble  here  with  a  tooth- 
less saw,  which  is  worked  with  *  Makkah  sand.'  They  saw  the 
marble  not  in  the  cross,  but  in  the  length— as  is  the  case  with 
wood — to  form  the  columns ;  also,  they  cut  it  into  slabs.  The 
marbles  that  I  saw  here  were  of  all  colours,  some  variegated, 
some  green,  red,  black,  and  white.  There  is,  too,  at  Ramlah  a 
particular  kind  of  fig,  than  which  no  better  exists  anywhere,  and 
this  they  export  to  all  the  countries  round.  This  city  of  Ramlah, 
throughout  Syria  and  the  West,  is  known  under  the  name  of 
Filastin,  the  name  of  the  province  being  transferred  to  its  capital 
town."  (N.  Kh.,  21.) 

"Ar  Ramlah,"  reports  Idrisi,  "is  a  fine  and  populous  town, 
having  markets,  and  much  merchandise  and  traffic."  (Id.,  4.) 

Yakut  repeats  the  account  given  by  Biladhuri  and  Ibn  al  Fakih 
(already  quoted)  of  the  foundation  of  Ar  Ramlah  by  Sulaiman, 
son  of  the  Khalif  'Abd  al  Malik,  and  of  his  buildings  there. 
After  stating  that  Sulaiman  also  laid  the  plan  of  the  mosque,  and 
began  to  erect  it,  he  continues  : 

"  The  immediate  cause  of  the  building  of  the  mosque  there 
was  this.  A  certain  scribe  of  the  name  of  Ibn  Batrik  demanded 
of  the  people  of  Ludd  that  they  should  give  him  a  certain  house 
that  stood  near  the  Church  (of  Lydda),  in  order  that  he  might 
turn  it  into  an  abode  for  himself.  But  the  people  refused  it  him. 
Then  said  he,  'By  Allah,  then  will  I  pull  down  that  other  !'— 
meaning  the  church.  And  so  it  came  about,  for  at  this  time 
Sulaiman  was  saying  to  himself,  *  Behold  the  Commander  of  the 
Faithful  that  was — namely,  'Abd  al  Malik — did  build  in  the 
Mosque  (or  Haram  Area)  of  the  Holy  City  a  Dome  over  the 
Rock,  and  thereby  obtained  fame  to  himself;  and,  further,  the 

*  This  earthquake  is  mentioned  by  the  Arab  annalists,  who  state  that  a  third 
of  Ramlah  was  thrown  down,  the  mosque  in  particular  being  left  a  mere  heap 
of  ruins.  See  p.  101. 

2O — 2 


Khalif  Al  Walid  hath  built  a  mosque  in  Damascus,  and  obtained 
fame  thereby  unto  himself  also — why  should  not  I,  too,  build  a 
mosque  and  a  city,  and  transport  the  people  thither  ?r  So  he 
founded  the  city  of  Ar  Ramlah,  and  built  the  mosque  there ;  and 
this  was  the  cause  of  the  ruin  of  the  city  of  Ludd  (and  of  the 
church  there).  Now,  when  Al  Walid  was  dead,  Sulaiman  had 
become  Khalif.  The  land  round  these  parts  was  sand,  but 
Sulaiman  laid  out  the  plan  of  the  new  city,  and  turned  a  place  in 
the  town  of  Ar  Ramlah  that  had  belonged  to  the  Dyers  into  wells 
of  sweet  water ;  for,  be  it  known,  Ar  Ramlah  did  not  exist  before 
the  days  of  this  Sulaiman.  And  he  gave  leave  to  the  people  to 
build,  and  they  built  in  the  city ;  and  Sulaiman  dug  for  them  the 
water  channel  which  went  by  the  name  of  Baradah.  He  dug 
also  wells  of  sweet  water."  The  account  goes  on  as  given  above, 
p.  304,  after  which  Yakut  continues  :  "The  drinking-water  of  the 
people  now  (1225)  is  from  wells  that  are  brackish.  Those  who 
are  rich  have  a  cistern,  and  lock  it  up.  It  may  be  noted  that 
most  towns  that  have  cisterns  possess  good  fruits  and  a  fine 
climate  (since  there  is  no  stagnant  water).  Saladin  freed  Ar 
Ramlah  in  583  (1187),  but  laid  the  town  in  ruins,  fearing  the 
Franks  should  master  the  place  a  second  time ;  and  it  has 
remained  in  a  state  of  ruin  down  to  the  present  day."  (Yak , 
ii.  817  ;  Mar.,  i.  483.) 

Yakut  states  that  "  'Askar  is  the  name  of  one  of  the  quarters  of 
Ar  Ramlah."  (Yak.,  iii.  674;  Mar.,  ii.  258.)  The  name  is  men- 
tioned also  by  Mukaddasi,  and  from  it  the  Gate  of  Ramlah,  called 
Darb  Bir  al  'Askar,  probably  took  its  name.  (See  above,  p.  305.) 

Abu-1  Fida  gives  a  summary  of  parts  of  the  above,  but  adds 
nothing  new.  (A.  F.  241.) 

Ramlah  was  visited  by  Ibn  Batutah  in  1355.  He  speaks  of  it 
as  :  "  A  large  town.  There  is  here  the  Jami'  al  Abyad  (the  White 
Mosque).  They  say  that  in  the  Kiblah  part  three  hundred  pro- 
phets lie  buried."  (I.  B  ,  i.  128.) 



The  Arabs  gave  this  town  the  name  of  Masjid  Ibrahim,  or  the 
Mosque  of  Abraham,  and  also  knew  it  as  Habra,  and  Habrun. 

"Masjid  Ibrahim,"  write  Istakhri  and  Ibn  Haukal,  in  the  eighth 
century,  "  lies  to  the  south  of  Bethlehem.  In  the  Mosque,  where 
Friday  prayer  is  said,  are  the  tombs  of  Abraham,  Isaac,  and  Jacob. 
They  lie  in  a  row,  and  beside  each  of  these  is  placed  the  tomb  of 
his  wife.  This  city  lies  in  a  valley  between  hills.  It  has  many 
trees  round  it.  The  trees  here— as  also  in  other  hilly  parts  of 
Filastin — are  chiefly  olive  and  fig-trees,  also  sycamores,  vines  and 
carobs.  Other  species  are  of  rare  occurrence."  (Is.,  57  ;  I.  H.  1 13,) 

Mukaddasi,  writing  in  985,  says  : 

"  Habra  (Hebron)  is  the  village  of  Abraham,  the  Friend  of  God. 
Within  it  is  a  strong  fortress,  which,  it  is  said,  is  of  the  building  of 
the  Jinns,  being  of  great  squared  stones.  In  the  middle  of  this 
place  rises  the  Dome,  built  of  stone — and  since  the  times  of  Islam 
— which  covers  the  sepulchre  of  Abraham.  The  tomb  of  Isaac 
lies  forward,  within  the  main-building  of  the  Mosque,  while  that 
of  Jacob  is  in  the  building  at  the  back.  Near  by  to  each  of  these 
prophets  lies  his  wife.  The  garden  round  has  become  the  mosque- 
court,  and  built  in  it  are  the  rest-houses  for  the  pilgrims,  which 
thus  adjoin  Sanctuary.  Thither  also  has  been  conducted  a  small 
water-channel.  All  the  country  round  Hebron,  for  the  distance  of 
half  a  stage,  is  filled  with  villages  and  vineyards,  and  grounds 
bearing  grapes  and  apples ;  it  is  even  as  though  it  were  all  but  a 
single  orchard  of  vines  and  fruit-trees.  The  district  goes  by  the 
name  of  Jabal  Nusrah.  Its  equal  for  beauty  does  not  exist  else- 
where, nor  can  any  fruits  be  finer.  A  great  part  of  them  is  sent 
away  to  Egypt  and  into  all  the  country  round.  At  times,  here, 
apples  of  good  quality  will  sell  at  a  thousand  for  the  Dirham  (ten 
pence),  and  the  weight  of  a  single  apple  occasionally  will  attain  to 
the  equivalent  of  a  hundred  Dirhams  (between  ten  and  eleven 
ounces).  In  the  Sanctuary  at  Hebron  is  a  public  guest-house, 
with  a  kitchener,  a  baker,  and  servants  appointed  thereto.  These 
present  a  dish  of  lentils  and  olive-oil  to  every  poor  pilgrim  who 
arrives,  and  it  is  even  set  before  the  rich  if  perchance  they  desife 


to  partake  of  it.  Most  men  erroneously  imagine  that  this  dole  is 
of  the  original  Guest-house  of  Abraham,  but  in  truth  the  funds 
come  from  the  bequests  of  a  certain  (Companion  of  the  Prophet) 
Tamim  ad  Dari,  and  others  It  so  being,  in  my  opinion  it  were 
better  to  abstain  from  receiving  these  alms  (lest  the  money  have 
been  unlawfully  gained).  Also  there  was  once  an  Amir  of  Khu- 
rasan—may Allah  have  confhmed  his  dominion !— who  assigned 
to  this  charity  a  thousand  Dirhams  \  early  (or  £40) ;  and  further, 
Al  'Adil,  the  Shar,  the  Ruler  of  Ghurjistan,  left  great  bequests  to 
this  house.  At  the  present  day,  in  all  Islam,  I  know  of  no  charity 
or  almsgiving  that  is  better  regulated  than  is  this  one ;  for  those 
who  travel  and  are  hungry  may  eat  here  of  good  food,  and  thus  is 
the  custom  of  Abraham  continued,  for  he,  during  his  lifetime, 
rejoiced  in  the  giving  of  hospitality,  and,  after  his  death,  Allah  — 
may  He  be  exalted ! — has  thus  allowed  the  custom  to  be  per- 
petuated;  and  I  myself,  Mukaddasi,  in  my  travels,  have  thus 
been  a  partaker,  so  to  speak,  of  the  hospitality  of  the  Friend  of 
God."  (Muk.,  172.) 

Nasir-i-Khusrau  visited  Hebron  in  1047.  Tne  account  in  his 
Diary  is  as  follows  : 

"  From  Jerusalem  to  Hebron  is  six  leagues,  and  the  road  runs 
towards  the  south.  Along  the  way  are  many  villages  with  gardens 
and  cultivated  fields.  Such  trees  as  need  little  water,  as,  for 
example,  the  vine  and  the  fig,  the  olive  and  the  sumach,  grow  here 
abundantly,  and  of  their  own  accord. 

"  The  people  of  Syria,  and  the  inhabitants  of  the  Holy  City, 
call  the  Sanctuary  (or  Mash-had  at  Hebron)  Khalil  (that  is,  '  the 
Friend '  of  Allah,  Abraham) — His  blessing  be  upon  him  ! — and 
they  never  make  use  of  the  real  name  of  the  village,  which  name 
is  Matlun.*  This  Sanctuary  has  belonging  to  it  very  many  villages 
that  provide  revenues  for  pious  purposes.  At  one  of  these  villages 
is  a  spring,  where  water  flows  out  from  under  a  stone,  but  in  no 
great  abundance ;  and  it  is  conducted  by  a  channel,  cut  in  the 
ground,  to  a  place  outside  the  town  (of  Hebron),  where  they  have 

*  Hebron  in  the  early  Arab  annals  is  given  as  divided  into  four  quarters  or 
villages  :  Habrun,  Martum,  Bait  'Ainun,  and  Bait  Ibrahim.  Matlun  is  doubt- 
less a  corruption  of  the  second  of  these  names. 


constructed  a  covered  tank  for  collecting  the  water,  so  that  none 
may  run  to  waste,  and  that  the  people  of  the  town,  and  the  pil- 
grims, may  be  able  to  supply  their  wants.     The  Sanctuary  (Mash- 
had]  stands  on  the  southern  border  of  the  town,  and  extends 
towards  the  south-east.*     The  Sanctuary  is  enclosed  by  four  walls, 
built  of  squared  masonry,  and  in  its  upper  part  (the  area)  measures 
80  cubits  long  by  40  cubits  across,  f     The  height  of  the  (exterior) 
wal's  is  20  cubits,  and  at  their  summit  the  width  of  the  walls  is 
2  cubits.     The  Mihrab  (or  niche)  and  the  Maksurah  (or  enclosed 
space  for  Friday-prayers)  stand  in  the  width  of  the  building  (at 
the  south  end).^    In  the  Maksurah  are  many  fine  Mihrabs.  There 
are  two  tombs  occupying  the  Maksurah,  laid  so  that  their  heads 
lie   towards   the   Kiblah-point  (south).      Both   these   tombs   are 
covered  by  cenotaphs,  built  of  squared  stone  as  high  as  a  man. 
That  lying  on  the  right  hand  (to  the  west,  Plan,  J)  is  the  grave  of 
Isaac,   son  of  Abraham ;    and  that   on  the  left  (or  to  the  east, 
Plan,  I)  is  the  grave  of  his  wife  (Rebecca) — peace  be  upon  them  ! 
Between  the  two  graves  may  measure  the  space  of  about  10  cubits. 
In  this  part  of  the  Sanctuary  the  floor  and  the  walls  are  adorned 
with  precious  carpets  and  Maghribi  matting  that  is  more  costly 
than  brocade.     I  saw  here  a  piece  of  matting,  serving  as  a  prayer- 
rug,  which  they  told  me  the  Amir  al  Juyush  (or  Captain-General), 
in  the  service  of  the  Sultan  of  Egypt,  had  sent  hither  ;  and  they 
said  that  at  Cairo  this  prayer-rug  had  been  bought  for  thirty  gold 

*  The  exact  orientation  of  the  quadrangle  is  fifty  degrees  true  bearing,  and 
consequently  the  great  Mihrab  of  the  Kiblah-point  lies  almost  exactly  south-east. 

t  The  exact  dimensions  externally  of  the  Haram  walls,  as  measured  by  their 
Royal  Highnesses  Prince  Albert  Victor  and  Prince  George  of  Wales,  during 
their  visit  in  1882,  are  197  feet  by  in  feet.  Nasir's  measurement  is  some- 
what under  the  real  size.  The  average  height  externally  of  the  ancient  (or 
Herodian  ?)  walls  is  40  feet,  or  20  cubits,  as  stated  in  the  text. 

+  The  present  building,  known  as  the  Church,  dates  from  the  time  of  the 
Crusaders.  The  building  Nasir  saw  has  disappeared.  The  late  Mr.  Fergusson 
states  in  his  book  on  The  Holy  Sepulchre  and  the  Temple  at  Jerusalem^  p.  137 
(Appendix  J),  "I  ascertained  with  certainty  that  there  was  nothing  inside  the 
enclosure  older  than  the  Crusades.  The  Gothic  building  which  occupies  the 
whole  of  the  southern  end  was  certainly  erected  either  in  the  last  half  of  the 
twelfth  or  the  first  half  of  the  thirteenth  century."  The  "  Makstirah  "  of  Nasir 
is  probably  the  same  building  as  the  "  Dome  "  mentioned  by  Mukaddasi.  See 
P- 309. 



A.  Entrance  to  the  Western  Cave. 

B.  Entrance  to  the  Eastern  Cave. 

C.  Hole  in  the  floor,  leading  to  a  chamber. 

D.  Hole  in  the  Wall,  opening  into  the  Western  Cave. 

E.  Dome. 

F.  Greek  Inscription. 

G.  Arabic  Inscription,  on  a  pier. 
H.  Greek  Inscription,  on  the  wall. 

I.   Cenotaph  of  Rebecca. 
J.          ,,         of  Isaac. 
K.    Mimbar,  or  Pulpit. 
L.  Reading-desk. 
M.   Cenotaph  of  Sarah. 
N.          ,,         of  Abraham. 
O.  ,,         of  Leah. 

P.  ,,          of  Jacob. 

Q.  Tomb  of  Joseph. 
R.    Door  leading  to  the  same. 
S.  Window  opening  into  the  same. 
T.    Pier. 
U.  Minaret. 
V.   Minaret. 
W.  Vestibule. 
X.   Entrance  Gate. 



Maghribi  Dinars  (or  about  ^15).  Now,  the  same  quantity  of 
Rumi  (or  Greek)  brocade  would  not  have  cost  so  much,  and  the 
equal  of  this  mat  I  never  saw  elsewhere. 

"  Leaving  the  Maksurah,  you  find  in  the  court  of  the  Sanctuary 
two  buildings.  Facing  the  Kiblah-point  (south),  the  one  lying 
on  the  right  hand  (or  to  the  west,  Plan,  N),  contains  the  tomb  of 
Abraham,  the  Friend  of  Allah — His  blessing  be  upon  him  !  This 
building  is  of  such  a  size  as  to  allow  of  there  being  within  it 
another  building,  which  you  cannot  enter,  but  which  has  in  its 
walls  four  windows,  through  which  the  pilgrims,  when  standing 
round  it,  may  look  and  view  the  tomb  that  is  within.  The  walls 
and  the  floor  of  this  chamber  are  covered  with  brocade  stuffs,  and 
the  cenotaph  is  made  of  stone,  measuring  3  ells  (in  length),  with 
many  silver  lamps  and  lanterns  hung  above  it.  The  other  edifice, 
lying  on  the  left  hand  as  you  face  the  Kiblah  (or  on  the  eastern 
side,  Plan,  M),  has  within  it  the  Tomb  of  Sarah,  the  wife  of 
Abraham — peace  be  upon  him  !  Between  the  two  edifices  is  the 
passage-way  that  leads  to  both,  and  this  is  like  a  hall,  and  here 
also  are  suspended  numerous  lamps  and  lanterns. 

"  After  passing  by  these  two  edifices,  you  come  to  two  other 
sepulchral  chambers  lying  close  one  to  another.  That  to  the- 
right  (or  on  the  west  side.  Plan,  P),  contains  the  Tomb  of  the 
Prophet  Jacob — peace  be  upon  him  ! — and  that  to  the  left  (or  east 
side,  Plan,  O),  the  Tomb  of  his  wife  (Leah).  Beyond  this  again 
are  other  buildings,  where  Abraham — the  blessing  of  Allah  be 
upon  him  ! — was  wont  to  dispense  his  hospitality  ;  but  within  the 
Sanctuary  there  are  these  six  tombs  only.  Outside  the  four  walls 
(of  the  Sanctuary)  the  ground  slopes  away,  and  here  on  the  (west) 
side  (Plan,  Q)  is  the  sepulchre  of  Joseph,  the  son  of  Jacob — peace 
be  upon  them  both  ! — over  whose  gravestone  they  have  built  a 
beautiful  dome.  On  this  side,  where  the  ground  is  level — that  is, 
beyond  the  sepulchre  of  Joseph,  and  the  Sanctuary — lies  a  great 
cemetery,  whither  they  bring  the  dead  from  many  parts  to  be 

"  On  the  flat  roof  of  the  Maksurah,  in  the  (Hebron)  Sanctuary, 
they  have  built  cells  for  the  reception  of  the  pilgrims  who  come 
hither  ;  and  the  revenues  of  this  charity  are  considerable,  being 


derived  from  villages  and  houses  in  the  Holy  City.  They  grow  at 
Hebron  for  the  most  part  barley,  wheat  being  rare  ;  but  olives  are 
in  abundance.  The  pilgrims,  and  voyagers,  and  other  guests  (of 
the  Sanctuary)  are  given  bread  and  olives.  There  are  very  many 
mills  here,  worked  by  oxen  and  mules,  that  all  day  long  grind  the 
flour  ;  and,  further,  there  are  slave-girls  who,  during  the  whole  day, 
are  baking  the  bread.  The  loaves  they  make  here  are  each  of 
them  of  a  Mann  weight  (or  about  three  pounds),  and  to  every 
person  who  arrives  they  give  daily  a  loaf  of  bread,  and  a  dish  of 
lentils  cooked  in  olive-oil,  also  some  raisins.  This  practice  has 
been  in  usage  from  the  days  of  (Abraham)  the  Friend  of  the 
Merciful — peace  be  upon  him  ! — even  down  to  the  present  hour ; 
and  there  are  some  days  when  as  many  as  five  hundred  pilgrims 
arrive,  to  each  of  whom  this  hospitality  is  offered 

"  It  is  said  that  in  early  times  the  Sanctuary  (at  Hebron)  had 
no  door  into  it,  and  hence  that  no  one  could  come  nearer  to  (the 
tombs)  than  the  outer  porch,  whence,  from  outside,  they  per- 
formed their  visitation.  When,  however,  the  (Fatimite  Khalif) 
Mahdi  came  to  the  throne  of  Egypt  (in  A.D.  918),  he  gave  orders 
that  a  door  should  be  opened  (into  the  Sanctuary),  and  he  pro- 
vided utensils  and  carpets  and  rugs,  besides  causing  many  (con- 
venient) edifices  to  be  built.  The  entrance-door  of  the  Sanctuary 
is  in  the  middle  of  the  northern  wall,  and  is  four  ells  above  the 
ground.  On  either  side  of  it  are  stone  steps,  one  stairway  for 
going  up,  and  one  for  coming  down  ;  and  the  gateway  is  closed 
by  a  small  iron  door."  (Kh.,  53-58.) 

It  is  worthy  of  note  that  the  only  doorway  that  pierces  the 
Haram  walls  at  the  present  day  is  that  found  at  about  the  centre 
of  the  eastern  wall.  As,  however,  the  Kiblah  point  is  really  south- 
east— though  Nasir  always  speaks  of  it  as  south — the  long  wall  of 
the  Haram  on  the  left-hand  (facing  the  Kiblah)  is,  in  truth,  the 
north-east  wall,  and  a  door  in  it  might  be  said  to  face  north,  for 

In  1099  Hebron  came  into  the  hands  of  the  Crusaders,  and 
was  bestowed  a  year  later  by  Godfrey  de  Bouillon  in  fief  on 
Gerhard  d'Avennes. 

Idrisi,  writing  in  1154,  has  the  following  account : 


"Masjid  Ibrahim  lies  about  1 8  miles  to  the  south  of  Beth- 
lehem. It  is  a  village  that  has  become  a  city.  In  its  mosque  are 
the  tombs  of  Abraham,  Isaac,  and  Jacob — peace  be  upon  them  ! 
— and  over  against  each  is  the  tomb  of  his  wife,  as  a  companion 
thereto.  The  town  lies  in  a  valley,  between  the  hills,  possessing 
trees  of  all  sorts,  such  as  olives  and  figs  and  sycamores,  and 
many  kinds  of  fruits."  (Id  ,  9.) 

'AH  of  Herat,  writing  in  1173,  fifteen  years  before  Hebron  was 
retaken  by  Saladin,  gives  the  following  account  of  what  he  himself 
saw  at  Hebron  some  years  before,  while  the  town  was  still  in  the 
hands  of  the  Crusaders.  'Ali's  account  has  been  copied  by  Yakut 
(Yak.,  ii.  468) ;  the  present  translation  is  made  from  the  text  of 
the  Oxford  Manuscript  of  'Ali's  work  (folios  43-45). 

"  At  Hebron,  Abraham,  Isaac,  Jacob,  and  Sarah  are  buried,  as 
also,  it  is  said,  are  Adam,  Noah,  and  Shem. 

"  When  I  was  at  Alexandria  in  the  year  570  (1175  A.D.,  other 
MSS.  give  A.M.  575),  I  heard  a  book  read  in  the  presence  of  the 
Shaikh  Hafiz  Abu  Tahir  as  Salafi,  but  the  name  of  the  author  of 
the  work  has  now  escaped  me.  And  by  mischance  all  my  books 
were  taken  from  me  by  the  Franks,  at  the  time  of  the  battle  of 
Khuwailifah,  when  they  fought  under  the  command  of  Al  Inkitar 
(Richard  Coeur  de  Lion),  the  King  of  the  Franks.  His  mes- 
sengers came  to  me  afterwards,  and  promised  the  return  of  what 
had  been  seized,  and  even  the  double  of  it  should  be  given  me ; 
but  he  desired  as  a  condition  that  I  should  go  and  join  him,  and 
that  I  would  not  consent  to  do.  All  this  took  place  in  the  year 

"In  the  work  above  mentioned,  the  author  states  that  a  certain 
man,  being  of  a  mind  to  make  his  visitation  at  Hebron,  gave  large 
sums  in  presents  to  the  guardians  (of  the  shrine),  and  had  asked 
one  of  them,  who  was  a  Greek,  whether  it  were  not  possible  for 
him  to  take  him  down  to  see  the  (body  of  the)  Patriarchs — on 
whom  be  peace  !  The  man  replied  that  at  that  time  it  was  not 
possible,  but  that  if  he  would  wait  till  the  press  of  pilgrims  was 
over,  that  he  could  then  do  it.  And  so  (when  the  time  of  the 
pilgrimage)  was  passed,  the  guardian  raised  up  a  stone  flag  (in  the 
floor  of  the  Mosque),  and  taking  a  lamp  with  him,  he  and  the 


other  descended  some  seventy  stops  to  a  spacious  <u\vrn.  The 
air  here  was  blowing  freely,  and  then.-  was  a  platform  on  which 
lay  extended  (the  body  of)  Abraham — peace  be  on  him  ! — clothed 
in  green  garments,  and  the  wind  as  it  blew  tossed  about  his  white- 
locks.  At  his  side  lay  Isaac  and  Jacob.  And  the  guide  went  on 
with  him  to  a  wall  in  the  cavern,  telling  him  that  behind  the 
wall  lay  Sarah,  and  he  had  in  intention  to  show  him  what  was 
beyond  the  wall,  but  lo  !  a  voice  cried  out,  saying,  '  Beware,  for  it 
is  the  Haram  /'  The  narrator  added  that  he  returned,  and  came 
up  by  the  way  he  had  gone  down. 

"  I  have  read  in  the  books  of  Moses  that  Al  Khalil  (Abraham, 
the  friend  of  God)  bought  a  piece  of  ground  from  Afrun  ibn  Suhar 
al  Haithi  (Ephron,  the  son  of  Sochar  the  Hittite)  for  400  Dirhams 
of  silver,  and  buried  therein  Sarah.  Such  is  the  account  in  the 
Pentateuch,  but  Allah  alone  knows  the  truth. 

"And  I,  'Ali  of  Herat — may  Allah  pardon  x  me  my  sins  ! — do 
relate  the  following  of  my  own  experience  : 

"  I  went  to  Jerusalem  in  the  year  567  (1172),  and  both  there 
and  at  Hebron  I  made  the  acquaintance  of  certain  Shaikhs,  who 
informed  me  that  [in  the  year  513  (1119)]*  during  the  reign  of 
King  Bardawil  (Baldwin  II.)  a  certain  part  over  the  Cave  of 
Abraham  had  given  way,  and  that  a  number  of  the  Franks  had, 
by  the  King's  permission,  made  their  entrance  therein.  And  they 
discovered  (the  bodies  of)  Abraham  and  Isaac  and  Jacob— peace  be 
upon  them ! — their  shrouds  having  fallen  to  pieces,  lying  propped 
up  against  a  wall.  Over  each  of  their  heads  were  napkins  [cr 
lamps],  and  their  heads  were  uncovered.  Then  the  King,  after 
providing  new  shrouds,  caused  the  place  to  be  closed  once  more. 
And  this  was  in  the  year  513  (1119). 

"The  Knight  Babun  (other  MS.  Birun),  who  dwelt  in  Bait  Lahm 
(Bethlehem),  and  held  a  high  position  among  the  Franks,  on 
account  of  his  knightly  deeds  and  valour,  related  to  me  that  he 
had  entered  this  cave  with  his  father.  And  he  saw  Abraham  the 
friend  and  Isaac  and  Jacob — peace  be  upon  them  ! — and  their 
heads  were  uncovered.  Now  I  said  to  him,  '  What  was  thy  age 

*  The  words  in  square  brackets  [  ]  are  inserted  from  Yakut's  text,  and  are 
not  found  in  the  Oxford  MS. 


at  this  time  ?'  and  he  answered,  '  Thirteen  years.'  Further,  he 
told  me  that  the  Knight  Jufri  (Geofrey)  ibn  Jarj  (George)  was  one 
of  those  whom  King  (Baldwin)  commissioned  with  the  renewal  of 
the  Patriarch's  garments,  and  with  the  rebuilding  of  such  of  the 
edifice  as  had  given  way,  and  further,  that  this  Jufri  was  still  alive. 
Subsequently  I  inquired  after  him,  but  was  told  he  had  died  a 
short  time  before.  Now  I,  'AH  of  Herat,  do  say,  verily  and  of  a 
truth,  I  myself  have  thus  seen  one  who  himself  saw  Abraham  and 
Isaac  and  Jacob — peace  be  upon  them  all !" 

In  confirmation  of  'Ali's  account  of  the  opening  of  the  Cave  of 
Machpelah,  the  following  note  is  to  be  found  in  Ibn  al  Athir's 
Chronicle  under  the  year  513  (1119;,  that  is,  in  the  very  year 
mentioned  by  'Ali : 

"  In  this  year  was  opened  the  tomb  of  Abraham,  and  those  of 
his  two  sons  Isaac  and  Jacob,  at  a  place  near  the  Holy  City. 
Many  people  saw  the  Patriarchs.  Their  limbs  had  nowise  been 
disturbed,  and  beside  them  were  placed  lamps  of  gold  and  of 

Yakut,  besides  quoting  much  of  the  above  narrative  from  'Ali 
of  Herat,  gives  the  following  traditional  account  of  the  early 
history  of  Hebron : 

"  Habrun  is  the  name  of  the  village  near  Jerusalem  where 
Abraham  is  buried ;  and  Abraham's  name,  Al  Khalil  (the  Friend), 
has  taken  the  place  of  the  name  Habrun.  The  town  is  also  called 
Habra.  The  building  here  was  erected  by  Solomon.  According 
to  Ka'ab  al  Hibr,f  the  first  who  died  and  was  buried  here  was 
Sarah  ;  and  Abraham,  wishing  a  place  to  bury  her  in,  bought  this 
spot  near  Habra  for  50  Dirhams,  and  in  those  days  the  Dirham 
was  worth  5  Dirhams  of  the  present  time.  Sarah  was  thus  buried 
here,  and  subsequently  Abraham,  Rebecca,  Isaac,  Jacob,  and 
Leah  (Li'ya  or  lliyah).  Solomon,  by  Divine  revelation,  and  directed 

*  All  the  extant  notices  of  visits  to  the  sepulchres  of  the  Patriarchs  of 
Hebron  are  brought  together  and  discussed  by  Comte  Riant,  in  a  paper  in 
vol.  ii.,  p.  411,  of  the  Archives  de  F  Orient  Lat'.n,  1884.  On  Hebron  in  general, 
the  note  given  by  M.  Quatremere  in  the  Appendix  (p.  239)  in  vol.  i.,  part  2,  of 
his  Histoire  des  Sultans  Mainlouks  (one  of  the  most  useful  of  the  Oriental 
Translation  Fund  publications),  may  with  advantage  be  consulted. 

t  On  this  personage  see  p.  142. 


by  a  light  from  heaven,  began  to  build  at  Ar  Rdmah,  a  village  on 
a  hill  overlooking  Habra  ;  then  God  said,  'Not  here,  for  behold 
the  light  in  the  heavens,  is  it  not  above  Habra,  above  the  cave  ?' 
So  Solomon  built  over  the  cave  the  enclosure  now  seen  there.  In 
this  cave  was  the  tomb  of  Adam,  and  behind  the  enclosure  is  that 
of  Joseph.  Joseph's  body  was  brought  hither  by  Moses,  having 
at  first  been  buried  in  the  middle  of  the  Nile.  The  cave  is  under 
the  earth,  the  enclosure  is  above  and  around  it,  most  strongly 

"  Hebron  was  given  in  fief  by  the  Prophet  to  (his  Companion) 
Tamim  ad  Dari  and  his  family.  There  are  named  in  the  deed, 
Bait  'Ainun,  Habrun,  Al  Martum,  and  Bait  Ibrahim.  These  and 
all  their  dependencies  were  granted  to  Tamim."  (Yak.,  ii.  194  ; 
Mar.,  i.  284.) 

Abu-1  Fida  gives  a  short  account  of  Hebron,  but  adds  nothing 
to  the  foregoing.  (A.  F.,  241.) 

The  traveller  Ibn  Batutah  visited  Hebron  in  1355,  and  we  find 
in  his  Diary  the  following  notice  of  the  place  : 

"The  (Haram)  Mosque  at  Hebron  is  built  of  hewn  stone,  and 
one  stone  is  37  spans  (shibr)  in  length.  The  Haram  is  said  to 
have  been  built  by  Solomon,  aided  by  the  Jinns.  Within  is  the 
holy  cave,  where  are  the  tombs  of  Abraham,  Isaac,  and  Jacob  ; 
opposite  lie  the  tombs  of  their  wives. 

"  To  the  right  of  the  Mimbar  (pulpit),  and  close  to  the  southern 
outer  wall,  is  a  place  where  you  may  descend  by  solidly-built 
marble  steps,  leading  to  a  narrow  passage,  and  this  opens  into  a 
chamber  paved  with  marble.  Here  are  the  cenotaphs  of  the 
three  tombs.  They  say  that  the  bodies  lie  immediately  adjacent 
(beneath),  and  that  hereby  was  originally  the  passage  down  to  the 
blessed  cave.  At  the  present  time,  however,  this  (passage)  is 
closed.  To  this  (first  chamber)  I  myself  descended  many 

Next  follow  proofs  that  these  are  the  real  tombs,  quotations 
being  given  from  the  Hadith,  or  Traditions  of  the  Prophet.  Ibn 
Batutah  adds  that  the  tomb  of  Joseph  is  also  seen  in  the  mosque 
at  Hebron.  (I.  B.,  i.  114,  115.) 

Ishak  al  Khalili  (of  Hebron),  who  wrote  in  1351,  records  the 


following  on  the  tombs  of  the  patriarchs.  His  account  has  been 
copied  verbatim  by  later  writers,  notably  by  Suyuti  in  1470  (see 
J.  R.  A.  S.,  new  series,  vol.  xix.,  p.  290),  and  by  Mujir  ad  Din  in 
1496  (Cairo  Text,  p.  41)  : 

"Muhammad  ibn  Bakran  ibn  Muham-mad  al  Khatib,  who  was 
Preacher  of  Abraham's  Sanctuary,  has  reported  as  having  heard 
Muhammad  ibn  Ahmad,  the  grammarian,  relate  the  following, 
which  is  given  in  his  own  words  :  '  Once  I  went  with  the  Kadi 
Abu  'Amr  'Othman  ibn  Ja'far  ibn  Shadhan  to  visit  the  tomb  of 
Abraham — upon  him  peace!  We  had  sojourned  there  for  the 
space  of  three  days,  when,  on  the  fourth,  the  Kadi  approached 
the  inscription  which  is  facing  the  tomb  of  Rebecca,  Isaac's  wife, 
and  ordered  it  to  be  washed,  that  the  writing  thereon  might  be 
made  clear ;  and  he  set  me  to  copy  all  that  was  on  the  stone,  in 
exact  facsimile,  on  a  roll  of  paper  that  we  had  brought.  And 
after  this  he  returned  to  Ar  Ramlah,  where  he  brought  together 
men  of  all  tongues,  in  order  to  read  what  was  thereon  ;  but  no 
one  was  able  to  interpret  it.  But  all  agreed  that  the  same  was  in 
the  language  of  the  ancient  Greeks  ;  and  that  if  any  there  were 
who  knew  how  to  read  it,  it  would  be  a  certain  Shaikh  of  Aleppo. 
So  the  Kadi  Abu  'Amr  sent  expressly  to  this  Shaikh,  requesting 
his  presence  at  Ar  Ramlah  ;  and  when  he  had  arrived,  he  caused 
me  also  to  be  present.  And  behold  he  that  was  come  was  a  very 
ancient  man  ;  and  this  Shaikh  from  Aleppo  dictated  to  me  as 
follows,  being  the  translation  of  what  I  had  copied  :  In  the  dirine 
and  adored  Name,  the  sublime,  the  mighty,  the  well-directing,  the 
strong,  the  powerful !  Verily  the  mound  which  /<•  facing  this  is  tJie 
Tomb  of  Rebecca,  the  wife  of  Isaac,  and  that  which  lies  near  thereto 
is  the  Tomb  of  Isaac.  The  great  mound  over  against  this  is  the 
Tomb  of  Abraham  the  Friend,  and  the  mound  which  faces  it  on  the 
eastern  side  is  the  Tomb  of  Sarah  his  wife.  TJie  further  mound, 
which  lies  beyond  that  of  the  Tomb  of  Abraham  the  Friend,  is  the 
Tomb  of  Jacob,  and  the  mound  adjoining  it  is  the  Tomb  of  Iliya 
(Leah],  Jacob's  wife.  And  Esau  wrote  this  with  his  own  hand. 

"  '  Further,*  Muhammad  ibn  Bakran  speaks  of  another  manu- 
script, and  that  the  copy  of  the  inscription  cut  on   the  above- 
*  This  second  account  is  omitted  by  Suyuti. 


mentioned  stone,  lying  to  the  east,  stated  that  the  head  of  Adam- 
peace  be  on  him  ! — lay  below  it.  The  interpretation  of  the  inscrip- 
tion was  as  follows  :  ///  the  divine  and  adored  Name,  the  high,  the 
/nighty,  the  victorious,  the  strong,  the  puissant !  This  mound  which 
lies  near  this  inscription  is  the  Tomb  of  Rebecca,  the  wife  of  Isaac, 
and  the  mound  thereto  adjacent  westwards  is  t/ie  Tomb  of  Isaac, 
The  great  mound  which  lies  on  the  opposite  side,  and  corresponding 
thereto,  is  the  Tomb  of  Abraham,  and  the  mound  which  is  facing 
this  to  the  east  thereof  is  the  Tomb  of  his  wife  Sarah.  The  mound 
that  lies  farthest  off,  but  in  a  line  with  the  Tomb  of  Abraham  the 
Friend,  is  the  Tomb  of  Jacob,  and  the  mound  adjacent  ifiereunto  and 
to  the  east  thereof,  is  the  Tomb  of  his  wife  Illy  A — the  benediction  of 
Allah  and  His  mercy  and  His  blessing  be  upon  them  all  I  for  purity 
lieth  in  His  grace* 

"  These,  then,  are  the  two  accounts.  Muhammad  ibn  Bakran 
al  Khatib  notes  that  the  name  of  (Leah)  Jacob's  wife  is  lliya,  but 
that  in  some  books  her  name  is  written  Laya  (or  Liya),  and  she  is 
known  also  as  Lika,  but  Allah  alone  knows  the  truth  !  The  Kadi 
mentioned  in  the  first  account — Abu  'Amr  'Othman  ibn  Ja'far  ibn 
Shadhan — was  a  judge  of  high  renown,  and  well  known.  The 
narrator  of  the  account,  however,  was  not  certain  as  to  the  exact 
name  of  this  Abu  'Amr's  father.  I  have  reason  to  believe  that 
he  was  'Othman,  son  of  Muhammad  ibn  Shadhan.  He  was  Kadi 
(judge)  of  Ar  Ramlah  during  the  Khalifnte  of  Ar  Radi-billah,  in 
the  year  320  and  odd  (A.D.  932),  and  during  the  following  years. 
He  is  an  authority  for  traditions,  which  he  held  at  many  hands  ; 
and  a  great  number  of  very  learned  tniditionists  cite  him  for  their 

"  The  Hafiz  Ibn  'Asakir  writes  :  In  a  certain  book  of  traditions 
I  read  and  copied  the  following  :  Muhammad  ibn  Bakran  ibn 
Muhammad  al  Khatib— who  was  Preacher  of  the  Masjid  of 
Abraham  the  Friend  (of  Allah) — states  as  having  heard  it  from 
Muhammad  ibn  Ahmad  ibn  'Ali  ibn  Ja'afar  al  Anbari,  who  him- 
self had  heard  Abu  Bakr  al  Askaf i  give  the  following  account  :* 
*  With  me  it  is  of  a  surety  that  the  tomb  of  Abraham  is  at  the  spot 

*  This  is  an  amplified  version  of  the  account  given  by  'Ali  of  Herat.  See 
P-  3I5- 



now  shown  as  the  same,  for  I  have  looked  on  the  tomb  and  seen 
his  body  with  my  own  eyes.     And  it  was  after  this  manner  :  I  had 
expended  great  sums,  amounting  to  nearly  4,000  dinars,  on  the  holy 
place  and  its  guardians,  hoping  thereby  to  obtain  favour  of  Allah — 
may  He  be  exalted  ! — and  I  wished  also  to  convince  myself  of  the 
exactitude  of  what  was  reported  concerning  (Abraham's  tomb). 
So  when  the  hearts  (of  the  guardians  of  the  holy  place)  were  won 
by  all  that  I  had  done  there — in   the  way  of  pious  deeds  and 
generous  giving,  and  in  the  making  of  presents,  and  honourably 
entreating  of  them,  and  other  such  bounties — I  proposed  to  get 
at  the  root  of  the  truth  which  my  heart  desired  to  know.     So,  on 
a  certain  day,  I  said  to  the  guardians,  when  we  were  all  assembled 
together,  "  I  would  fain  ask  of  you  to  conduct  me  to  the  door  of 
the  cave,  that  I  may  descend  therein  and  be  a  witness  for  myself 
(of  the  tombs)  of  the  prophets.     The  benediction  of  Allah  and 
His  mercy  be  upon  them  !"     The  guardians  answered  me,   "We 
would  certainly  agree  to  do  this  for  thee,  for  thou  hast  put  us 
greatly  in  thy  debt ;  but  at  this  present  time  the  matter  is  im- 
possible, for  travellers  are  constant  in  arriving.     But  do  thou  have 
patience  till  the  winter  shall  have  come."     So  when  the  month  of 
the  second  Kanun  (January)  was  entered,  I  went  to  them  again  ; 
but  they  said  to  me,  "  Remain  with  us  yet  awhile  until  the  snow 
falls."     So  I  remained  with  them  till  the  snow  fell.     Now,  when 
the  travellers  had  ceased  coming,  the  guardians  brought  me  to 
where  there  is  a  stone  which  lies  in  the  floor  between  the  tomb  of 
Abraham  the  Friend  and  that  of  Isaac — peace  be  on  them  both  ! 
— and  they  raised  this  slab,  and  one  of  them,  a  man  of -the  name 
of  Sa'luk,  a  just  man,  who  did  many  pious  works,  prepared  to 
descend  to  guide  me.     So  he  descended,  and  I  with  him  and 
following  him.     We  went  down  seventy-two  steps,  until  we  came 
to  a  place  on  the  right,  where  we  saw,  as  it  were,  a  great  bier 
built  of  black  stones — even  like  a  merchant's  stall  in  the  bazaar — 
whereon  was  the  body  of  an  aged  man,  lying  on  his  back,  long- 
bearded   and   hairy   of  cheek,  with   clothes    of  a   green    colour 
clothing  him.     Said  Sa'luk  to  me,   "This  is  Isaac— peace  be  on 
him  ! '     Then  we  went  a  little  further,  and  came  to  a  yet  larger 
bier  than  the  first,  and  upon  it,  extended  also  on  his  back,  lay  an 


aged  man,  the  hair  on  his  breast  already  whitened  with  age,  and 
his  head,  and  beard,  and  eyebrows,  and  eyelashes  white  also. 
He  was  clothed  in  green  garments  also,  which  covered  his  body 
and  also  the  greater  part  of  the  bier,  and  the  wind  blew  about  his. 
white  locks  to  right  and  to  left.  Said  Sa'lftk  to  me,  "This  is 
Abraham  the  Friend,"  and  I  threw  myself  upon  my  face  glorifying 
Allah — may  He  be  praised  and  magnified ! — for  what  He  had 
vouchsafed  to  me.  Then  we  continued  on  yet  again,  and  came 
to  a  smaller  bier,  on  which  lay  an  old  man,  with  a  face  much 
browned  by  the  sun,  and  a  thick  beard.  On  his  body  there  were 
green  clothes,  which  covered  him.  Said  Sa'luk  to  me,  "This 
is  Jacob,  the  Prophet — on  him  be  peace  !"  Then  we  turned  to 
go  to  the  right,  as  though  to  go  to  the  Haram.' 

"At  this  point,  says  Muhammad  al  Anbari,  Abu  Bakr  al 
Askafi  certified  to  me  that  his  story  must  end.  So  I  arose  from 
beside  him,  the  time  of  the  visit,  and  of  his  telling  me  of  all  this, 
having  drawn  to  a  close.  But  at  my  next  leisure  I  went  to  the 
Masjid  Ibrahim  (Hebron)  ;  and,  coming  to  the  Mosque,  inquired 
for  Sa'luk.  Said  they  to  me,  '  Jn  an  hour  he  will  be  here.'  And 
when  he  came,  I  went  to  him  ;  and,  sitting  down  beside  him, 
began  to  tell  him  part  of  the  story  (I  had  heard  from  his  friend 
Abu  Bakr).  But  he  looked  on  me  with  an  eye  that  would  have 
denied  all  knowledge  of  the  circumstances  referred  to  by  me. 
Then  I  turned  towards  him  to  gain  his  favour,  and  showed  him 
that  I  was  free  of  evil  intent,  for  that  Abu  Bakr  al  Askafi  was  as 
my  paternal  uncle  ;  so  he  at  length  began  to  incline  to  me.  And 
I  said  to  him,  *  O  Sa'luk,  by  Allah  !  when  ye  did  turn  as  though 
to  go  towards  the  Haram,  what  happened,  and  what  was  it  that  ye 
saw  ?'  And  he  said  to  me,  *  But  did  not  Abu  Bakr  tell  thee 
thereof?'  But  I  answered,  '  I  desire  to  hear  of  it  from  thee.' 
Then  said  he,  *  We  heard,  as  coming  from  out  near  the  Haram,  a 
voice  of  one  crying  :  Depart  ye  from  the  Haram  !  and  Allah  hare 
mercy  on  you  !  And  we  both  fell  down,  and  lost  all  sense.  After 
a  time,  coming  to  ourselves  again,  we  arose,  but  despaired  of  life, 
and  our  companions  (above)  had  despaired  of  seeing  us  also  ever 

"  The  Shaikh  further  told  me  that  Abu  Bakr  al  Askafi  lived 

21 —  2 


on  but  a  few  days  after  he  had  related  to  him  this  account, 
and  Sa'luk,  too,  died  shortly  after — Allah  have  mercy  on  them 
both !" 

.  Suyuti  in  1470  quotes,  as  already  stated,  the  whole  of  the  above 
account.  He  gives,  at  the  commencement  of  his  thirteenth 
chapter,  the  following  tradition,  which  is  doubtless  derived  from  a 
Rabbinical  source : 

"  It  is  reported  by  Ibn  'Asakir,  on  a  chain  of  tradition  going 
back  to  Ka'ab  al  Ahbar,  that  the  first  person  who  died  and  was 
buried  at  Hebron  was  Sarah  ;•..*,  then  Abraham  himself  died, 
and  was  buried  at  her  side  ;  then  Isaac's  wife,  Rebecca,  died,  and 
was  buried  there,  and  later  Isaac  himself  was  buried  beside  his 
wife.  When  Jacob  died,  he  was  buried  at  the  mouth  of  the  cave, 
and  when  his  wife  Lika  (Leah)  came  also  to  die,  she  was  buried 
beside  him.  Then  the  sons  of  Jacob  met  together,  and  also  Esau 
and  his  brethren,  and  they  said,  *  Let  us  leave  the  entrance  of  the 
cavern  open,  so  that  when  any  die  he  may  be  buried  therein.' 
But  afterwards  a  dispute  arose  among  them,  and  one  of  the 
brothers  of  Esau — or,  as  some  say,  one  of  the  sons  of  Jacob— 
raised  his  hand  and  struck  Esau  a  blow  that  caused  his  head  to 
fall  off,  and  it  rolled  into  the  cave.  And  they  carried  away  his 
body  and  buried  it  without  the  head,  for  the  head  remained  within 
the  cave.*  And  the  cave  they  closed  by  a  wall.  Then  over  each 
grave  they  erected  a  monument,  inscribing  on  each  severally,  This 
is  the  tomb  of  Abraham,  This  it,  the  tomb  of  Sarah,  and  so  forth, 
after  which  they  all  departed,  closing  the  gates."  (S.,  289  ; 
M.  a.  D.,  41.) 

Mujir  ad  Din,  who  wrote  in  1496,  inserts  all  the  foregoing  in 
his  work.  He  further  made  very  careful  measurements  of  the 
Hebron  Sanctuary,  and  has  left  a  detailed  description  of  the 
buildings  there,  as  they  stood  at  the  close  of  the  fifteenth  century. 
Descriptions  of  the  Hebron  Haram  at  the  present  day  correspond 
very  closely  with  this  account,  proving  that  since  the  time  of  Mujir 
ad  Din  no  very  extensive  alterations  have  taken  place. 

Nasir-i-Khusrau,   as   early  as   1047,   notices    the  Sepulchre    of 

*  This  is  the  Rabbinical  tradition,  found  in  the  Babylonian  Talmud.  Sotah, 
\.  13. 


Joseph.  kv  on  the  west  side"  of  the  Haram  at  Hebron.  ( )f  the 
first  discovery  of  this  sepulchre — said  to  have  taken  place  in  the 
early  part  of  the  tenth  century  A.D. — Mujir  ad  Din  gives  an 
account,  of  which  the  following  is  a  translation  : 

"  'I 'he  tomb  of  Joseph  is  in  the  plot  of  ground  lying  outside 
Solomon's  enclosure  (the  Haram).  It  stands  opposite  the  torn!) 
of  Jacob,  and  is  near  that  of  his  forefathers  Abraham  and  Isaac. 
Now  Ibrahim  ibn  Ahmad  al  Khalanji  states  that  he  was  requested 
by  one  of  (the  Khalif*)  Al  Muktadir's  women,  Al  'Ajuz  by  name, 
who  was  sojourning  at  the  Holy  City,  to  proceed  to  the  place 
where,  according  to  the  tradition,  Joseph  was  buried,  and  having 
discovered  the  sepulchre,  to  erect  over  it  a  building.  So  Al 
Khalanji  set  forth  with  workmen,  and  they  found  the  place  where, 
according  to  tradition,  Joseph  was  buried,  namely,  outside  the 
enclosure  (of  Solomon),  and  opposite  the  tomb  of  Jacob,  and 
they  bought  the  field  from  its  owner,  and  began  to  lay  it  bare. 
In  the  very  place  indicated  by  the  tradition  they  came  on  a  huge 
and  this,  by  order  of  Al  Khalanji,  was  broken  into.  They 
tore  off  a  portion,  '  and,'  says  Al  Khalanji,  '  I  being  with  the 
workmen  in  the  trench  when  they  raised  up  the  fragment,  lo  !  here 
lay  (the  body  of)  Joseph — peace  be  upon  him  ! — beautiful  and 
glorious  to  look  on,  as  he  is  always  represented  to  have  been. 
Now,  first  there  arose  from  the  place  an  odour  of  musk,  following 
it,  however,  came  a  strong  wind  ;  so  I  caused  the  workmen  to  set 
down  into  its  place  again  the  fragment  of  rock,  to  be  as  it  had 
been  before.' 

"And  afterwards,"  Mujir  ad  Din  continues,  "they  built  over 
this  place  the  Dome  which  can  be  seen  there  to  this  day,  in  proof 
that  the  tradition  is  a  true  one,  and  that  the  Patriarch  is  buried 
beneath.  This  Dome  stands  without  the  walls  of  Solomon's 
Enclosure,  and  to  the  west  of  it,  being  within  the  Madrasah  (or 
college),  called  after  Al  Malik  an  Nasir  Hasan,t  which  at  the 
present  day  is  called  Al  Kala'ah  (the  castle).  You  enter  it 
through  the  gate  of  the  Mosque  which  opens  towards  the  market, 
and  leads  to  the  Eunuch's  Spring  ('Ain  at  Tawashi).  It  is  a  place 

*  He  reigned  from  908  to  932  A.  i>. 

f  One  of  the  Mamluk  Sultans  of  Egypt.    He  was  assassinated  in  762  (1361). 


much  frequented  (by  pilgrims,  who  are  shown)  here  the  grave  (of 
Joseph;.  One  of  the  guardians  of  Hebron,  Shihab  ad  Din 
Ahmad  al  Yaghmuri*  by  name,  pierced  a  gateway  in  the  western 
wall  of  (the  Haram,  which  is)  Solomon's  Enclosure,  and  this 
opens  opposite  to  the  tomb  of  our  lord  Joseph,  fie  also  set  a 
cenotaph  over  this  lower  tomb,  to  mark  the  same,  and  to  be 
similar  to  those  that  are  above  the  other  graves  of  the  Patriarchs 
that  lie  in  the  Mosque  (or  Haram)  of  Abraham.  This  was  done 
during  the  reign  of  Sultan  Barkuk."f  (M.  a.  I).,  64.) 

Of  Mujir  ad  Din's  description  and  measurements  of  the 
Hebron  Sanctuary  in  his  own  day,  the  following  translation  gives 
the  substance  of  the  text  printed  in  the  Cairo  edition  (p.  56  et  seq.}. 
The  letters  in  brackets  refer  to  the  plan  facing  p.  312  : 

"  Hebron  Sanctuary  ;  measurements  within  the  walls  of 
Solomon's  building. 

"  The  length  from  north  to  south,  measuring  from  the  back  of 
the  Mihrab  near  the  Mimbar  (K)  to  the  further  end  of  the  shrine 
in  which  is  the  grave  of  Jacob  (P),  is  80  ells  of  the  workman's  ell 
—less  about  \  or  §  of  an  ell. 

"The  breadth  from  east  to  west,  measuring  from  the  wall  at 
the  entrance-gate  to  the  back  of  the  western  colonnade  (riwak)  in 
which  is  the  window  (shabbak)  leading  to  the  sepulchre  of  Joseph 
(S),  is  41  ells,  plus  about  J  or  £  an  ell — the  ell  being  that  used  by 
the  workmen  of  our  day. 

"  The  thickness  of  the  wall  on  all  sides  is  3^  ells.  The  number 
of  the  courses  in  its  construction  is  fifteen  in  the  highest  portion, 
which  is  that  near  the  gate  of  the  Kala'ah  at  the  south-west  corner 
(near  D),  and  the  height  of  the  wall  here  from  the  ground — not 
including  the  part  built  by  the  Greeks,  which  lies  above  Solomon's 
wall — is  26  ells.  Among  the  stones  used  in  Solomon's  wall,  there 
is  one  near  the  Tabl  Khanah  (Drum  House),  the  length  of  which 
is  1 1  ells.  The  height  ('ant)  of  each  of  the  courses  of  Solomon's 
walls  is  about  i|  ells.  There  are  two  minarets  that  rise  from  the 
walls,  one  at  the  south-east  angle  (V),  and  the  other  at  the  north- 
west angle  (U),  and  these  are  beautifully  built. 

*  Governor  of  Jerusalem  and  Hebron  in  796  (1394). 

f  The  Mamluk  Sultan  of  Egypt  who  reigned  784-801  (1382-1399). 


"As  regards  the  description  of  the  buildings,  inside  the  walls 
there  is  a  vaulted  building  (the  Church)  occupying  about  half, 
namely,  the  southern  portion  (of  the  area),  and  extending  north- 
ward. It  dates  from  Greek  times.  It  consists  of  three  aisles, 
and  the  middle  aisle  is  higher  than  those  that  lie  to  the  east 
and  west  of  it.  The  roof  is  supported  on  four  well-built  piers. 
At  the  end  of  the  middle  aisle  of  this  vaulted  building  is  the 
Mihrab,  and  beside  it  is  the  Mimbar  (pulpit)  of  wood,  made  in  the 
reign  of  the  Fatimite  Khalif  al  Mustansir-billah,  or  order  of  Badr 
al  Jamali,  in  484  (1091).  It  was  brought  here  from  Ascalon  in 
Saladin's  time. 

"  In  this  part  (i.e.,  the  Church)  are  the  tombs  of  Isaac,  near  the 
pier  beside  the  Mimbar  (on  the  western  side,  at  J) ;  the  tomb  of 
his  wife  Rebecca  is  opposite  beside  the  eastern  pier  (at  I).  This 
main-building  (the  Church)  has  three  doors  opening  into  the  court 
of  the  Mosque.  The  middle  door  leads  into  the  Sanctuary  of 
Abraham.  '1  his  is  a  vaulted  chamber  of  marble,  with  four  walls. 
On  its  western  side  is  the  cell  (N)  in  which  is  the  tomb  of 
Abraham,  and  corresponding  on  the  east  is  the  tomb  of  Sarah  (M). 
The  second  doorway  (of  the  main-building),  which  is  on  the  east, 
and  near  the  great  entrance-gate  in  Solomon's  wall,  is  behind 
Sarah's  tomb.  The  third  doorway,  to  the  west,  is  immediately 
behind  Abraham's  tomb  ;  it  leads  into  the  colonnade.  This  gate* 
was  built  by  Shihdb  ad  Din  al  Yaghmiiri,  who  also  pierced  the 
window  in  Solomon's  wall  opening  into  the  place  of  Joseph's  tomb, 
and  this  during  the  reign  of  Sultan  Barkuk  in  796  (1394). 

t%  In  the  northern  part  of  the  enclosure  of  Solomon  is  the  grave 
of  Jacob  (P)  lying  on  the  western  side,  and  in  a  line  with  Abraham's 
tomb.  Opposite  this  (O)  on  the  eastern  side  is  the  tomb  of  his 
wife  Lika  (Leah).  The  Court  of  the  Mosque  between  the  tomb 
of  Abraham  and  that  of  Jacob,  is  uncovered  to  the  sky.  The 
domes  over  the  patriarch's  tombs  are  said  to  have  been  built  in 
the  times  of  the  Omayyad  Khalifs." 

All  the  above,  written  in  the  year  1 496,  tallies  exactly  with  the 
present  descriptions  of  the  Hebron  Sanctuary.  (Cf,  P.E.F. 
Memoirs,  iii.  337.) 

*  Now  closed. 



"  A  city  on  the  coast  of  the  Jordan  Province."     (Yb.,  115.) 
Mukaddasi,  writing  in  985  A.D.,  gives  the  following  interesting 
description  of  the  city  : 

"'Akka  is  a  fortified  city  on  the  sea.  The  mosque  here  is  very 
large.  In  its  court  is  a  clump  of  olive-trees,  the  oil  from  which 
suffices  for  the  lamps  of  the  mosque,  and  yet  besides.  This  city 
had  remained  unfortified  until  the  time  when  Ibn  Tulun  (the 
Ruler  of  Egypt)  visited  it,  coming  from  Tyre,  where  he  had  seen 
the  fortifications  and  the  walls  which  are  there  carried  round  so  as 
to  protect  the  harbour.  Then  Ibn  Tulun  wished  to  construct  at 
'Akka  a  fortification  that  should  be  as  impregnable  as  that  of  Tyre. 
From  all  provinces  artificers  were  brought  together ;  but  when  the 
matter  was  laid  before  them,  all  averred  that  none  in  these  days 
knew  how  the  foundations  of  a  building  could  be  laid  in  the  water. 
Then  one  mentioned  to  Ibn  Tulun  the  name  of  my  grandfather, 
Abu  Bakr,  the  architect,  saying  that  if  perchance  any  had  know- 
ledge in  these  matters,  it  would  be  he  alone.  So  Ibn  Tulun 
wrote  to  his  Lieutenant  in  Jerusalem  commanding  that  he  should 
despatch  my  grandfather  to  him  ;  and  on  his  arrival  they  laid  the 
affair  before  him.  '  The  matter  is  easy,'  said  my  grandfather  ; 
'let  them  bring  such  sycamore  beams  as  be  large  and  strong.' 
These  beams  he  set  to  float  on  the  surface  of  the  water,  as  a  pro- 
longation of  the  town  walls  (seawards),  and  he  bound  them  one  to 
the  other  ;  while  towards  the  west  he  left  the  opening  for  a  mighty 
gateway.  And  upon  these  beams  he  raised  a  structure  with  stones 
and  cement.  After  every  five  courses  he  strengthened  the  same 
by  setting  in  .great  columns.  At  length  the  beams  became  so 
weighted  that  they  began  to  sink  down  ;  but  this  was  little  by 
little,  and  finally  they  rested  on  the  sand.  Then  they  ceased 
building  for  a  whole  year,  that  the  construction  might  consolidate 
itself,  after  which,  returning,  they  began  again  to  build.  And 
from  where  it  had  been  left  off,  continuing,  my  grandfather  made 
a  junction  between  this  and  the  ancient  city  walls,  bringing  the 
new  work  right  up  into  the  old,  and  causing  the  two  to  join 
together.  Across  the  western  gate  of  the  port  he  built  a  bridge, 


and  every  night  when  the  ships  had  come  within  the  harbour  they 
drew  across  the  water-gate  a  chain,  even  as  was  the  case  at  Tyre. 
It  is  reported  that  my  grandfather  received  for  this  matter  the 
sum  of  r,ooo  Dinars  (^500),  besides  robes  of  honour,  horses,  and 
other  gifts,  and  his  name  was  inscribed  over  the  work.  Now, 
before  this  harbour  had  been  made  the  enemy  were  wont  to  take 
advantage  of  the  ships  lying  here  to  do  them  grievous  damage." 
(Muk.,  162,  163.) 

This  account  is  quoted  verbatim  by  Yakut  (Yak.,  iii.  707,  708, 
and  Mar.,  ii.  271,  in  epitome),  who  adds  that  the  inscription  naming 
Abu  Bakr  the  architect  still  existed  in  the  thirteenth  century,  when 
he  wrote.  The  method  of  building  described,  with  stone-pillars 
used,  as  'through-bonds,'  is  one  much  used  in  later  centuries  by 
the  architects  of  the  Crusaders.  The  remains  of  the  double  mole 
forming  the  inner  harbour  at  Acre  may  still  be  seen,  though  at  the 
present  day  these  are  almost  entirely  under  water.  (See  Mem*. 
of  S.  of  W.  P.,  vol.  i.,  1 60.) 

Our  next  account  of  Acre  is  written  by  the  Persian  Pilgrim 
Nasir,  who  visited  the  city  in  1047  : 

"After  leaving  Tyre,  we  travelled  7  leagues,  and  came  to  the 
township  of  'Akkah,  which,  in  official  documents,  is  named 
Madinat  'Akkah.  The  city  stands  on  an  eminence,  the  ground 
sloping,  but  in  part  it  is  level ;  for  all  along  this  coast  they  only 
build  towns  where  there  is  an  elevation,  being  in  terror  of  an 
encroachment  of  the  waves  of  the  sea.  The  Friday  Mosque  at 
Acre  is  in  the  centre  of  the  town,  and  rises  taller  than  all  the  other 
edifices.  All  its  columns  are  of  marble.  To  the  right  hand,  out- 
side the  Mosque,  and  towards  the  Kiblah  (south)  is  the  tomb  of 
the  Prophet  Salih* — peace  be  upon  him  !  The  court  of  the 
Mosque  is  partly  paved  with  stone,  and  the  other  part  is  sown 
with  green  herbs,  for  they  say  it  was  here  that  Adam — peace  be 
upon  him  ! — first  practised  husbandry.  I  made  a  measurement  of 
the  city ;  its  length  is  2,000  ells,  and  its  breadth  500  ells.  Its 
walls  are  extremely  strong;  to  the  west  and  south  lies  the  sea. 

*  According  to  the  Kuran  (vii.  71),  Salih  was  the  prophet  sent  to  convert 
the  tribe  of  ThamCul.  He  is  variously  identified  with  the  Peleg  of  Genesis 
xi.  16,  or  the  Salah  of  verse  12  of  the  same  chapter. 


On  the  southern  side  is  what  is  called  the  Mina  (or  port).  Now, 
most  of  the  towns  upon  this  coast  have  a  Mina,  which  same  is  a 
place  constructed  for  the  harbouring  of  ships.  It  resembles,  so  to 
speak,  a  stable,  the  back  of  which  is  towards  the  town,  with  the 
side- walls  stretching  out  into  the  sea.  Seaward,  for  a  space  of 
about  50  ells,  there  is  no  wall,  but  only  chains,  stretching  from 
one  wall's  end  to  the  other.  When  they  wish  to  let  a  ship  come 
into  the  Mina,  they  slack  the  chains  until  they  have  sunk  beneath  the 
surface  of  the  water  sufficient  to  let  the  ship  pass  over  them  (into 
the  harbour) ;  then  they  tighten  up  the  chain  again  so  as  to  prevent 
any  strange  vessel  coming  in  to  make  an  attempt  against  the  ships. 

"  Outside  the  eastern  city  gate,  and  on  the  left  hand,  is  a  spring, 
to  which  you  descend  by  twenty-six  steps  before  reaching  the 
water.  This  they  call  the  'Ain  al  Bakar  (the  Ox  Spring),  relating 
how  it  was  Adam — peace  be  upon  him  ! — who  discovered  this 
spring,  and  gave  his  oxen  water  therefrom,  whence  its  name  of  the 

"  When  you  leave  this  township  of  Acre  and  go  eastwards,  you 
come  to  the  mountain  region  (of  Lower  Galilee),  where  there  are 
various  places  of  martyrdom  of  the  prophets — peace  be  upon 
them  ! — and  this  region  lies  aside  from  the  road  of  him  who  would 
travel  to  Ramlah.  .  .  .  Here  I  went  and  visited  the  tomb  of 
'Akkah,  who  is  the  founder  of  the  city  of  Acre,  a  very  pious  and 
great  personage."  (N.  Kh.,  12-14.) 

In  1104  King  Baldwin  and  the  Crusaders  took  Acre.  Idrisi, 
writing  in  1154,  but  from  the  descriptions  given  him  by  other 
travellers,  remarks : 

"  'Akkah  is  a  large  city,  spaciously  laid  out,  with  many  domains 
round  it.  The  city  has  a  fine  and  safe  port.  The  population  is 
of  mixed  (nationality  and  religion)."  ild,  12.) 

The  next  account  is  by  'Ali  of  Herat,  who  wrote  in  1173.  He 
gives  the  following  account  of  the  celebrated  Ox  Spring,  a  site  held 
sacred  by  Jews,  Muslims,  and  Christians  alike,  and  a  favourite 
place  of  pilgrimage  of  those  days.  The  Crusaders  ultimately 
turned  the  eastern  part  of  the  Mosque  they  found  here  into  a 

"There  is  here  (says  'Ali  of  Herat)  the  'Ain  al   Bakar,  from 


whence  came  forth  the  oxen  wherewith  Adam  ploughed  the  earth. 
Over  this  spring  is  a  Mashhad  (or  oratory)  dedicated  to  'AH  ibn 
Abu  Talib  (son-in-law  of  the  Prophet).  This  the  Franks  wished 
to  turn  into  a  church.  And  they  set  here  (one  day)  a  guardian 
who  was  to  superintend  the  building  thereof  and  serve  the  place. 
But  on  the  morrow  he  came  and  said,  '  I  have  seen  (in  my  sleep) 
a  person  who  spake,  saying,  /  am  'A/i  ibn  Abu  Talib  ;  say  now  to 
thy  people  that  they  shall  leave  this  place  to  be  a  Mosque \  for  other- 
wise will  I  destroy  thee?  But  when  the  guardian  told  his  country- 
men this  they  would  not  believe  his  words.  And  they  set  another 
in  his  place ;  but  when  the  morrow  came  behold  they  found  this 
man  dead.  So  the  Franks  abandoned  their  purpose,  and  it  has 
remained  a  Mosque  even  to  the  present  time.  They  say  that  the 
tomb  of  Salih  is  to  the  south  of  the  Jami'  (Mosque),  but  the  truth 
is  otherwise.  The  tomb  of  'Akk,  or  'Akkah,  from  whom  the  city 
is  named,  is  also  in  the  neighbourhood."  (A.  H.,  Oxf.  MS., 
folio  32.) 

Our  next  account  of  Acre  is  from  the  Spanish  Arab  Ibn  Jubair, 
who  visited  the  city  in  1185,  a  couple  of  years  before  the  place 
was  retaken  by  Saladin.  The  following  is  a  translation — somewhat 
condensed — of  those  paragraphs  of  his  diary  which  describe  the 
town  : 

"  That  night  we  stopped  at  one  of  the  farmsteads,  about  a  league 
distant  from  'Akkah.  The  head  man  there — who  was  the  inspector 
of  the  affairs  thereof  for  the  Muslim  landlord,  and  on  behalf  of 
the  Franks  also,  for  whatever  the  farmers  did  there  in  the  matter 
of  cultivation — invited  us  as  guests,  and  gave  hospitality  to  all  the 
people  of  the  caravan,  both  great  and  small,  lodging  us  in  a  broad 
gallery  in  his  house  and  setting  food  before  us.  We  remained 
there  that  night  and  the  next  day  entered  'Akkah.  And  they 
brought  us  to  the  Diwan  (Dogana,  Custom-house)  which  is  a  Khan 
prepared  as  the  halting-place  of  caravans.  Before  the  gate  is  a 
carpeted  platform  on  which  sit  the  secretaries  of  the  Diwan  on  the 
part  of  the  Christians,  before  desks  of  ebony  ornamented  with 
gold  work.  These  write  in  Arabic,  and  talk  the  language  also,  and 
their  head  is  the  Sahib  ad  Diwan  (Chief  of  the  Customs),  and  they 
take  note  of  all  that  passes  before  them. 


"  'Akkah  is  the  chief  of  the  Frank  cities  of  Syria,  the  great  port 
of  the  sea,  and  the  great  anchorage  for  their  ships,  being  second 
only  to  Constantinople.  It  is  the  meeting-place  of  Muslim  and 
Christian  merchants  of  all  lands.  The  place  is  full  of  pigs  and  of 
crosses.  The  Franks  took  it  from  the  Muslims  in  the  first  decade 
of  the  sixth  century  (of  the  Hijrah).  They  turned  the  Mosque 
into  a  church,  and  the  Minaret  into  a  bell-tower.  But  Allah  has 
granted  that  a  part  of  the  Jami'  Mosque  should  still  remain  un- 
desecrated  in  the  hands  of  the  Muslims,  and  here,  as  strangers, 
they  assemble  to  pray.  Near  the  Mihrab  of  this  is  the  tomb  of 
the  Prophet  Salih — peace  be  upon  him  !  In  the  eastern  part  of 
the  town  is  the  spring  called  'Ain  al  Bakar  (the  Spring  of  the  Ox), 
it  being  that  from  which  Allah  caused  the  ox  to  come  forth  for 
Adam — peace  be  on  him  !  The  descent  to  the  spring  is  by  polished 
steps  ;  and  over  it  stands  a  Mosque,  the  Mihrab  of  which  remains 
in  good  condition.  To  the  east  of  it  the  Franks  have  built  a 
Mihrab  (or  oratory)  for  themselves,  and  Moslems  and  infidels 
assemble  together  to  make  their  prayers.  But  the  place  is  in  the 
hands  of  the  Christians,  and  by  them  is  much  honoured.  We 
stayed  in  'Akkah  two  days,  and  then  went  to  Sur  (Tyre)."  (I.  J., 
306,  307.) 

"  The  towns  of  'Akkah  and  Sur  have  no  gardens  (immediately) 
surrounding  them  ;  they  stand  in  a  flat  country  and  along  the 
shore  of  the  sea.  The  fruits  are  brought  into  the  town  from  the 
gardens  that  are  in  the  neighbourhood.  Both  towns  possess  broad 
lands  lying  on  the  flanks  of  the  mountain  chain  along  the  coast, 
and  these  are  occupied  by  farmsteads.  Their  produce  is  brought 
into  those  cities  ;  and  these  lands  are  extremely  rich.  To  the  east 
of  'Akkah  and  at  the  further  end  of  the  town  is  a  Wadi,  down 
which  flows  a  torrent  of  water,  and  on  its  banks,  near  the  sea 
(mouth)  is  a  stretch  of  land  than  which  none  can  be  seen  more 
beautiful.  No  Maidan  (or  race-course)  for  horses  can  be  finer. 
The  (Christian)  Lords  of  the  town  go  there  evening  and  morning, 
and  the  soldiers,  also,  for  exercise."  (I.  J.,  313,  314.) 

'Akkah,  according  to  Yakut  (Yak.,  iii.  707-709),  is  the  most 
beautiful  of  the  coast  towns,  and  belongs  to  the  Jordan  Province. 
He  next  quotes  Mukaddasi,  and  continues:  "The  Khalif 


Mu'awiyah  of  old  gained  -real  glory  by  conquering  'Akkah  and 
the  coast  towns.  He  refortiiied  both  'Akkah  and  Sur  before  he 
set  out  to  conquer  Cyprus.  After  his  days  the  fortification^  <•! 
'Akkah  fell  to  ruin,  and  they  were  restored  by  the  Khalif  Hisham, 
the  son  of  'Abd  al  Malik,  and  were  the  Frontier  Fortresses  of  the 
Jordan  Province.  All  the  artificers  of  the  land  (of  Syria)  lived  here. 
Then  Hisham  moved  them  all  to  Tyre,  where  they  remained  till 
about  the  Khalif  Al  Muktadir's  day  (\  i>.  908-932),  when  they 
were  all  dispersed  on  the  coming  of  the  Crusaders. 

"The  Franks  besieged  'Akkah  by  land  and  by  sea  in  497 
(1104),  and  took  it,  slaying  many.  The  city  remained  in  their 
hands  till  Saladin  retook  it  in  583  (1187);  but  the  Franks  (under 
Richard  Cceur  de  Lion)  came  against  it  again,  and  laid  siege  and 
dug  a  ditch,  even  though  Saladin  came  and  encompassed  them 
without,  and  laid  siege  to  the  besiegers  during  the  space  of  three 
years.  None  the  less,  at  last  the  Franks  again  took  'Akkah 
from  the  hands  of  the  Muslims  in  587  (1191),  and  made  captives 
of  nearly  three  thousand  Muslims;  so  the  city  remains  still  in 
their  hands  .to  the  present  day." 

Thus  far  Yakut,  who  wrote  in  1225.  The  author  of  the  Marasid, 
who  epitomized  his  work  about  the  year  1300,  adds : 

"'Akkah  was  retaken  from  the  Franks  in  690  (1291)  by  Al 
Malik  al  Ashraf  ibn  Kalaun  (the  Mamluk  Sultan  of  Egypt  , 
who  made  great  slaughter  of  all  the  Christians  here."  (Mar., 
ii.  271.) 

Yakut  (Yak.,  iii.  758)  and  the  author  of  the  Marasid  (Mar. 
ii.  294)  also   mention  the  "  Ox  Spring,"  noting  that  it  is  held  in 
veneration  by  Muslims,  Christians,  and  Jews  alike,  and  give  the 
story  of  Adam's  ox.     Yakut  adds  that  many  other  strange  tradi- 
tions are  related  of  this  spring. 

A  cursory  notice  of  Acre  is  given  by  Dimashki  (Dim.,  2f3), 
which  adds  nothing,  however,  to  the  foregoing.  Abu-1  Fida, 
writing  in  1321,  after  a  notice  of  the  Ox  Spring,  continues  : 

"'Acre  is  a  beautiful  city.  The  people  have  their  drinking- 
water  from  an  underground  channel  which  comes  into  the  town. 
There  is  a  fine  and  spacious  port,  and  artisans  are  numerous  here. 
At  the  present  day  Acre  is  in  ruins,  having  been  brought  bark 


into  the  hands  of  the  Muslims  from  the  Franks  in  the  year  690 
(1291),  and  I  myself  was  present  at  its  capture,  and  had  booty 
therefrom."  (A.  R,  243.) 

In  1355  Acre  was  visited  by  the  traveller  Ibn  Batittah,  who 
reports  (I.  B.,  i.  129)  the  city  to  have  been  in  ruins  when  he 
visited  it,  "though  formerly  it  was  the  Frank  capital  of  Syria. " 
He  mentions  cursorily  the  'Ain  al  Bakar,  and  the  Mosque  of  the 
Prophet  Salih. 


The  capital  of  the  Jordan  Province. 

"  Tabariyyah  lies  on  the  lake  of  the  same  name,"  writes  Ya'kubi, 
"  and  is  surrounded  by  hills.  From  the  lake  runs  out  the  Jordan. 
At  the  city  of  Tiberias  are  hot  springs,  which  bubble  up  and  never 
fail  summer  or  winter.  They  carry  the  hot  water  into  the  baths 
by  conduits,  and  thus  the  people  have  no  need  of  fuel  for  heating 
their  water."  (Yb.,  115.) 

Istakhri's  account  is  as  follows  :  "  The  chief  town  of  the 
Urdunn  (Jordan)  Province  is  Tabariyyah.  It  stands  on  a  fresh- 
water lake  1 2  leagues  long,  by  from  2  leagues  to  3  leagues  across. 
There  are  hot  springs  which  flow  out  near  the  city,  rising  about 
2  leagues  away ;  but  even  when  the  water  reaches  the  town — 
although  from  the  length  of  the  conduit  it  has  somewhat  cooled— 
it  is  still  so  hot  that  skins  thrown  into  it  have  the  hair  removed, 
and  it  is  impossible  to  use  the  water  (for  bathing)  until  (cold 
water)  has  been  mixed  with  it.  This  water  is  what  is  generally 
employed  in  the  hot  baths  and  the  (mosque)  tanks  (for  ablution). 
At  Tabariyyah  they  use  (for  drinking  purposes)  the  water  of  the 
lake."  (Is.,  58;  I.  H,  113.) 

"  Tabariyyah,"  writes  Mukaddasi,  "  is  the  capital  of  the  Jordan 
Province,  and  a  city  of  the  Valley  of  Kin'an  (Canaan).  The 
houses  stand  between  the  mountain  and  the  lake.  The  town  is 
narrow,  hot  in  summer,  and  unhealthy.  It  is  nearly  a  league  in 
length,  but  has  no  breadth.  Its  market-place  extends  from  one 
city  gate  to  the  other,  and  its  graveyard  is  on  the  hill-slope. 
There  are  here  eight  natural  hot  baths,  where  no  fuel  need  be 


used,  and  numberless  basins  besides  of  boiling  water.  The 
mosque  is  large  and  fine,  and  stands  in  the  market-place.  Its 
floor  is  laid  in  pebbles,  set  on  stone  drums,  placed  close  one  to 
another.  Of  the  people  of  Tiberias  it  is  said  that  for  two  months 
they  dance,  and  for  two  more  they  gorge  ;  that  for  two  months 
they  beat  about,  and  for  two  more  they  go  naked  ;  that  for  two 
months  they  play  the  reed,  and  for  two  more  they  wallow.  The 
explanation  of  this  is  that  they  dance  from  the  number  of  fleas, 
then  gorge  off  the  Nabak  fruit :  they  beat  about  with  fly-laps  to 
chase  away  the  wasps  from  the  meat  and  the  fruits,  then  they  go 
naked  from  the  heat ;  they  suck  the  sugar-canes,  and  then  have  to 
wallow  through  their  muddy  streets.  Beyond  the  lower  end  of 
the  Lake  of  Tiberias  is  a  great  bridge,*  over  which  lies  the  road 
from  Damascus.  The  people  drink  the  water  of  the  lake.  Around 
its  shores  are  villages  and  palm-trees,  and  on  its  surface  are  boats 
which  come  and  go.  The  water  from  the  baths  and  the  hot 
springs  flows  into  the  lake,  and  strangers  dislike  the  flavour  of  its 
waters  for  drinking.  The  lake  swarms,  none  the  less,  with  fish, 
and  the  water  is  light  of  digestion.  The  mountains,  which  are 
steep,  overhang  the  town."  (Muk.,  161  ;  quoted  at  length  by 
Yak.,  iii.  510.) 

Mukaddasi  continues  on  another  page  :  "  Near  Tiberias  are 
boiling  springs,  which  supply  most  of  the  hot  baths  of  that  town. 
A  conduit  goes  to  each  bath  from  the  springs,  and  the  steam  of 
the  water  heats  the  whole  building,  whereby  they  have  no  need  of 
artificial  firing.  In  an  outer  building  they  set  cold  water,  which, 
in  certain  proportion,  has  to  be  mixed  with  the  hot  by  those  who 
wish  to  bathe ;  and  this  same  also  serves  in  the  (mosques)  for  the 
ablution.  Within  this  district  are  other  hot  springs,  as  at  the  place 
called  Al  Hammah  (the  Thermal  Waters).  Those  who  suffer  from 
the  scab,  or  ulcers,  or  sores,  and  other  such-like  diseases,  come  to 
bathe  here  during  three  days,  and  then  afterwards  they  dip  in  the 
water  of  another  spring,  which  is  cold,  whereupon — if  Allah 
vouchsafe  it  to  them — they  become  cured.  I  have  heard  the 

*  Either  the  Jisr  al  Majanii',  or  the  bridge,  at  present  in  ruins,  close  to  the 
southern  end  of  the  lake,  called  Jisr  as  Sidd. 


people  of  Tiberias  relate  that  all  around  these  springs,  down  to 
the  time  of  Aristotle,  there  were  bath-houses,  each  establishment 
being  for  the  cure  of  a  specific  disease,  and  those  who  were 
afflicted  thereby  sojourned  here  and  bathed  for  their  cure.  Aris- 
totle, however,  demanded  of  the  king  of  that  time  that  these  bath- 
houses should  be  pulled  down,  lest  thereby  men  should  become 
exempt  from  recourse  to  physicians.  That  there  are  here  several 
different  waters,  with  various  medicinal  properties,  would  appear 
to  be  a  certain  fact  ;  for  every  sick  person  who  comes  here  now 
is  obliged  each  one  to  immerse  himself  completely  in  the  (mixed) 
waters,  in  order  to  insure  that  he  shall  get  to  that  which,  in 
particular,  may  heal  his  special  disorder.  Among  the  villages 
near  Maab,  also,  there  is  another  hot-spring,  called  Hammah." 
(Muk.,  185.) 

The  springs  here  mentioned  must  be  those  of  Gadara,  or 
Amatha,  in  the  Yarmuk  Valley,  near  the  present  town  of 
Umm  Keis. 

Tiberias  was  visited  by  Nasir-i-Khusrau  in  1047.  He  writes  in 
his  Diary  : 

"  Leaving  Irbil  we  came  down  a  valley,  at  the  further  end  of 
which  were  visible  the  lake  and  the  city  of  Tabariyyah  upon  the 
shore  of  the  same.  The  length  of  the  lake  (of  Tiberias)  I  would 
estimate  at  6  leagues,  and  its  breadth  may  be  3  leagues.  The 
\vater  of  the  lake  is  sweet  and  of  good  flavour.  The  town  lies  on 
the  western  shore.  The  waters  from  the  hot  springs  near  by,  and 
the  drainage- water  of  the  houses,  all  flow  into  the  lake ;  and  yet 
the  population  of  the  city,  and  of  the  places  along  the  shore  of 
the  lake,  do,  none  the  less,  all  of  them  drink  of  the  wraters  thereof. 
I  heard  that  once  upon  a  time  a  certain  governor  of  the  city  gave 
orders  that  they  should  prevent  the  refuse  of  the  city  and  the 
sewage  from  draining  thus  into  the  lake.  But  (after  his  orders 
were  carried  out)  the  water  of  the  lake  itself  became  fetid,  so  as 
to  be  no  longer  fit  for  drinking ;  and  on  his  ordering  that  the 
sewers  should  again  be  allowed  to  open  therein,  the  lake- water 
became  once  more  sweet  as  aforetimes.  The  city  has  a  strong 
wall  that,  beginning  at  the  borders  of  the  lake,  goes  all  round  the 
town  ;  but  on  the  water  side  there  is  no  wall.  There  are  number- 


less  buildings  erected  in  the  very  water,  for  the  bed  of  the  lake  in 
this  part  is  rock;  and  they  have  built  pleasure  houses  that  are 
supported  on  columns  of  marble,  rising  up  out  of  the  water.  The 
lake  is  very  full  of  fish. 

"  The  Friday  Mosque  is  in  the  midst  of  the  town.  At  the  gate 
of  the  mosque  is  a  spring,  over  which  they  have  built  a  hot  bath  : 
and  the  water  of  this  spring  is  so  hot  that,  until  it  has  been  mixed 
with  cold  water,  you  cannot  bear  to  have  it  poured  over  you. 
They  say  this  hot  bath  was  built  by  Solomon,  the  son  of  David  — 
peace  be  upon  them  both  !— and  I  myself  did  visit  it.  There  is, 
too,  on  the  western  side  of  the  town  of  Tiberias  a  mosque  known 
as  the  Jasmine  Mosque  (Masjidi-  Ydsmin).  It  is  a  fine  building, 
and  in  the  middle  part  rises  a  great  platform  (dukkan\  where  they 
have  their  Mihrabs  (or  prayer-niches).  All  round  those  they  have 
set  jasmine-shrubs,  from  which  the  mosque  derives  its  name.  In 
the  colonnade,  on  the  eastern  side,  is  the  tomb  of  Yusha'  ibn  Nun 
(Joshua,  the  son  of  Nun);  and  underneath  the  great  platform 
aforesaid  are  shown  the  tombs  of  the  seventy  prophets — peace  be 
upon  them  !-  -whom  the  children  of  Israel  slew.  In  the  town  of 
Tiberias  they  make  prayer-mats  of  reeds,  which  sell  in  the  place 
itself  for  five  Maghribi  Dinars  (or  over  £2}  a-piece.  On  the  west  of 
the  city  rises  a  mountain,  upon  which  has  been  built  in  hewn 
stone  a  castle ;  and  there  is  here  an  inscription  in  Hebrew 
characters,  stating  that,  at  the  time  it  was  cut,  the  Pleiades  stood 
at  the  head  of  the  zodiacal  sign  of  the  Ram.  The  tomb  of  Abu 
Hurairah  (the  Prophet's  Companion)  lies  outside  the  city,  towards 
the  south  ;  but  no  one  can  go  and  visit  it,  for  the  people  who  live 
here  are  of  the  Shi'ah  sect,  and  as  soon  as  anyone  comes  to  make 
the  visitation,  the  boys  begin  a  tumult,  and  raise  a  disturbance 
about  him  that  ends  in  stone-throwing,  wherefrom  injuries  are 
received."  (N.  Kh.,  16.) 

The  castle  here  mentioned  is  probably  the  remains  of  Herod's 
Castle,  now  called  Kasr  Bint  al  Malik  (the  Palace  of  the  King's 
Daughter),  lately  visited  and  described  by  Herr  Schumacher  in 
the  P.  E.  F.  Quarterly  Statement  for  April,  1887. 

Abu  Hurairah,  one  of  the  Prophet's  Companions,  whose  tomb 
Nasir  was  unable  to  visit,  died,  in  A.H.  57  (677),  at  'Akik.  His 



body,  say  the  historians,  was  taken  into  Al  Madinah,  and  buried 
in  the  well-known  cemetery  of  Al  Baki'.  (Cf.  Ibn  Khallikan's 
Biographical  Dictionary,  translated  by  De  Slane,  i.  570.)  In  con- 
firmation of  Nasir's  account,  that  his  tomb  was  in  old  times  shown 
at  a  village  near  Tiberias,  is  a  stone  of  'Ajlun  marble,  measuring 
2  feet  7  inches  by  2  feet,  lately  discovered  in  this  neighbourhood 
by  Herr  Schumacher.  It  bears  on  its  face  an  Arabic  inscription 
to  the  following  effect  : 

"In  the  name  of  Allah  the  Compassionate,  the  Merciful !  Say  : 
He  is  one  God — God  the  Everlasting!  He  begetteth  not,  and  He 
is  not  begotten,  and  there  is  none  like  unto  Him*  This  is  the  Tomb 
of  Abu  Hurairah,  the  Companion  of  the  Apostle  of  Allah :  upon 
whom  be  the  peace  of  Allah  and  His  blessing" 

In  the  place  where  this  stone  was  discovered,  Herr  Schumacher 
noted  traces  of  an  ancient  mosque.  (P.  E.  F.  Quarterly  State- 
ment, April,  1887,  p.  89.) 

" Tabariyyah,"  according  to  Idrisi's  work,  written  in  1154,  "is 
a  great  city  in  the  Province  of  the  Jordan,  and  the  capital  thereof. 
It  is  a  beautiful  town,  lying  on  the  slope  of  the  mountain  ;  and  it 
stretches  out  in  the  length,  for  its  breadth  is  small.  In  length  it 
is  near  to  a  couple  of  miles.  At  the  base  of  the  town,  on  its 
western  part,  is  a  lake  of  sweet  water  12  miles  long,  and  the  like 
in  breadth  ;  and  over  it  sail  vessels  that  carry  the  crops  of  the 
lands  round  the  lake  to  the  city.  It  has  fortified  walls.  They 
manufacture  here  the  mats  called  As  Samaniyyah;  and  marvellous 
they  are,  and  very  little  are  they  manufactured  elsewhere  in  any 
of  the  other  towns  of  this  land.  In  Tiberias  are  hot  baths  with 
hot  water  that  is  not  heated  with  fire.  The  water  remains  hot 
summer  and  winter.  Among  them  is  the  bath  called  Hammam 
ad  Damakir ;  it  is  very  large,  and  the  \vater  when  it  first  gushes 
from  the  ground  is  so  hot  that  they  scald  kid  skins  and  fowls 
therein,  and  you  may  boil  eggs  in  it.  The  water  is  salt.  Then 
there  is  the  Hammam  Lulu,  which  is  smaller  than  the  Hammam 
ad  Damakir.  Its  water  is  hot,  but  sweet ;  and  the  warm  water  is 
distributed  among  the  houses  in  the  neighbourhood,  being  used 
for  washing  and  other  purposes.  Of  other  baths  is  the  Hammam 

*   This  first  paragraph  forms  the  H2th  chapter  of  the  Kuran. 


;il  Minjadah.  In  all  Tiberias  there  is  no  Hammam  that  is  heated 
with  fire  except  only  the  Small  Bath  (A!  Hammam  as  Saghir),  and 
this  was  originally  built  by  a  certain  one  of  the  Muslim  kings  in 
his  private  house  for  his  own  use,  and  for  the  use  of  his  wives,  and 
his  children,  and  his  servants.  When  he  died  the  bath  was  thrown 
open  and  given  to  the  people  for  the  public  to  use,  and  in  it  alone 
is  the  water  heated  with  fire. 

"  To  the  south  of  Tiberias  are  great  Hammams,  such  as  'Ain 
Mauki'in,  and  'Ain  ash  Sharaf  (or  'Ain  ash  Sharab),  and  others, 
wherein  at  all  seasons  flow  out  springs  of  hot  water.  Sick  people 
from  all  the  neighbouring  countries  come  to  these,  such  as 
those  who  suffer  from  lumbago,  and  paralysis,  and  rheumatism, 
and  those  with  ulcers  and  the  scab  ;  and  they  remain  in  the  water 
during  three  days,  and  then — by  the  permission  of  Allah — they 
become  healed."  (Id.,  10.) 

'Ali  of  Herat  has  the  following  notices  of  places  of  visitation 
lying  near  Tiberias.  The  text  will  be  found  on  folios  27,  28,  and 
30,  of  the  Oxford  MS.,  and  they  have  been  copied  by  Yakut  into 
his  Dictionary  : 

"  To  the  east  of  the  lake  is  said  to  be  the  tomb  of  Sulaiman 
(King  Solomon)  ibn  Daiid  ;  but  the  truth  is  that  his  tomb  is  at 
Bait  Lahm,  both  he  and  his  father  being  buried  in  the  cave  where 
Jesus  was  born  (at  Bethlehem).  On  the  east  of  the  lake  also  is 
the  tomb  of  Lukman,  the  sage  (.Ksop).  At  Tabariyyah  is  the 
spring  of  water  which  is  called  after  'isa  (Jesus),  the  son  of  Mary 
—peace  be  upon  Him ! — and  the  Church  of  the  Tree  (Kamsah  as/i 
ShajaraJi),  about  which  there  is  a  wondrous  history  concerning 
'isa  ibn  Maryam—  peace  be  upon  Him! — and  the  dyers  (or 
artisans).  It  is  mentioned  in  the  Evahgil,  and  was  the  first 
miracle  that  He  did. 

"  On  the  spur  of  the  Mountain  of  Tabariyyah  is  the  tomb  of 
Abu  Hurairah."  (Copied  in  Yak.,  iii.  512.) 

The  story  of  Jesus  and  the  artisans,  or  dyers — for  the  MSS. 
vary  in  the  reading  of  the  word — is  presumably  some  apocryphal 
version  of  the  marriage  of  Cana. 

'Ali  of  Herat  continues:  "The  Hammam  (or  hot  baths)  of 
Tiberias  are  considered  one  of  the  wonders  of  the  world.  They 

22  —2 


lie  at  the  Gate  of  Tabariyyah,  and  beside  the  lake.  Of  the  like 
of  this  we  have  seen  many  in  other  parts  of  the  world.  But  that 
which  is  the  real  wonder  of  the  world  is  the  Hammam  at  a  place 
in  the  dependencies  of  Tabariyyah,  and  to  the  east  of  it  at  a 
village  called  Al  Husainiyyah,  in  the  Wadi  (of  the  Varmuk). 
Here  there  are  ancient  structures  said  to  have  been  built  by 
Solomon,  the  son  of  David,  and  one  building  was  originally  a 
temple.  The  water  flows  out  from  the  forepart  of  the  building, 
pouring  forth  from  twelve  openings,  and  each  spring  is  especially 
purposed  to  cure  a  special  disease.  The  water  is  extremely  hot, 
but  is  perfectly  limpid  and  sweet  to  drink."  (Copied  by  Yakut, 
iii.  510.) 

"  Tabariyyah,"  writes  Yakut,  "  is  a  small  town  on  the  shore  of 
the  lake  of  that  name.  It  lies  three  days  distant  from  Damascus, 
and  the  like  from  Jerusalem,  and  two  days  from  'Akkah,  being  in 
the  Jordan  Province  and  in  the  Ghaur.  The  town  in  shape  is 
long  and  narrow,  till  it  attains  the  slope  of  a  small  mountain  near 
by,  on  which  are  other  buildings.  There  are  hot  salt  springs  here, 
over  which  they  have  built  Hammams,  and  they  use  no  fuel. 
Tabariyyah  is  called  after  Tabara  (Tiberias),  one  of  the  Greek 
kings.  He  built  the  baths  here,  for  he  saw  no  fuel  was  needed, 
hot  water  gushing  out  by  night  and  day.  Tabariyyah  was  first 
conquered  by  (the  Arab  commander)  Shurahbil  in  the  year  13 
(634)  by  capitulation ;  one  half  of  the  houses  and  churches  were 
to  belong  to  the  Muslims,  the  other  half  to  the  Christians, 
Between  Tabariyyah  and  Baisan  is  another  hot  bath  called  the 
Hammah  of  Solomon,  the  son  of  David.  They  say  it  cures  all 
kinds  of  diseases. 

"In  the  middle  of  the  lake  is  a  sculptured  stone,  with  upper 
rows  of  stones  set  thereon.  It  may  be  seen  from  afar  off.  It  is 
said  by  the  people  of  the  neighbourhood  to  be  the  tomb  of 
David."  (Yak.,  iii.  509.) 

"Tabariyyah,"  writes  Dimashki,  "in  the  Safad  District,  was 
originally  the  capital  of  the  Jordan  Jund.  It  is  a  city  that  is 
built  along  the  shore  of  the  lake.  The  latter  is  12  miles  long, 
and  6  miles  across.  The  mountains  surround  it  on  all  sides. 
Out  of  the  lake  runs  the  Shari'ah  (River  Jordan),  which  flows 


down  to  the  Lake  of  Zughar  (the  Dead  Sea).  On  the  shore  of 
the  Lake  of  Tabariyyah  are  some  springs  of  extremely  hot  water, 
called  Al  Hammamat  (the  Hot  Baths).  The  water  of  these 
springs  is  salt  and  sulphurous,  and  is  very  useful  in  cases  of  swollen 
limbs,  dry  mange,  or  for  excess  of  phlegm,  and  extreme  corpu- 
lence. They  say  that  the  tomb  of  Solomon,  the  son  of  David,  is 
in  this  lake."  (Dim.,  211.) 

Abu-1  Fida  gives  much  of  the  above  in  epitome,  but  adds  no 
new  facts.  In  his  day  the  city  was  in  ruins,  never  having  re- 
covered the  siege  by  Salad  in,  who  took  it  from  the  Crusaders  in 

Tabariyyah  was  visited  in  1355  by  Ibn  Batutah.  He  speaks  of 
it  as  a  large  and  ancient  town,  now  in  ruins  :  "  There  are,"  he 
says,  "baths  here,  with  bath-houses  for  both  men  and  women, 
and  the  waters  are  very  hot.  The  Lake  of  Tabariyyah  is  6  leagues 
long,  and  3  leagues  broad.  At  Tabariyyah  is  the  Mosque  of  the 
Prophets.  Here  also  is  the  tomb  of  Shu'aib  (Jethro),  and  of  his 
daughter,  the  wife  of  Moses.  The  tombs  of  Solomon,  Yahudfi 
(Judah),  and  RClbil  (Reuben),  are  also  shown  here."  (I.  B., 
i.  132.) 



Tyre  (Sur).  Sidon  (Saida).  Tripoli  (Tarabulus,  or  Atrabulus)  :  The  Old 
and  the  New  Town—  The  Castles  of  the  Assassins.  Hims  (Emessa)  : 
The  Talisman  against  Scorpions.  Hamah  (Hamath)  :  The  Ancient 
Castle.  Aleppo  (H&\ak>}  :  Ibn  Butlan's  Description—  The  Castle.  Antioch 
(Antakiyyah)  :  Christian  Churches  and  Convents  —  Description  by  Ibn 
Ikitlan—  The  Great  Storm  of  the  Year  1050  A.  D.  —  Tradition  of  Habib  an 
Najar.  Tarsus  :  The  Frontier  Fortress,  and  the  Garrison. 


"  A  CITY  of  the  Jordan  Province,"  writes  Ya'kubi.  "  It  is  the  chief 
town  of  the  coast  districts,  and  contains  the  Arsenal  (Dar  as 
SancCah).  From  here  sail  the  Sultan's  ships  on  the  expeditions 
against  the  Greeks.  It  is  a  beautiful  place,  and  fortified.  The 
population  is  of  mixed  nationality."  (Yb.,  115.) 

"Sur  in  the  Jordan  Province  is  one  of  the  most  strongly 
fortified  of  the  sea-coast  towns.  It  is  populous,  and  its  lands 
are  fertile.  They  say  it  is  the  most  ancient  of  the  coast  towns, 
and  that  most  of  the  Greek  philosophers  were  from  it."  (Is.,  59  ; 
I.  H,  114.) 

Mukaddasi  in  985,  writes  :  "  Tyre  is  a  fortified  town  on  the  sea, 
or  rather  in  the  sea,  for  you  enter  the  town  through  one  gate  only, 
over  a  bridge,  and  the  sea  lies  all  round  it.  The  city  consists  of 
two  quarters  ;  the  first  being  built  on  the  terra  firma  ;  while  the 
second,  (the  harbour)  beyond  this,  is  an  area  enclosed  by  triple 

*  Tyre,  in  Hebrew  Tsor,  becomes  regularly  Sur  in  Arabic  ;  while  the 
Arabic  word  Tur  is  the  name  given  to  Sinai,  Tabor,  and  other  conspicuous 
mountains  or  hills.  See  p.  72. 


walls  with  no  earth  appearing,  for  the  walls  rise  out  of  the  sea. 
Into  this  harbour  the  ships  come  every  night,  and  then  a  chain  is 
drawn  across,  whereby  the  Greeks  are  prevented  from  molesting 
them.  Water  is  brought  into  the  town  by  means  of  a  vaulted 
aqueduct.  Tyre  is  a  beautiful  and  pleasant  city.  Many  artificers 
dwell  here,  and  ply  their  special  trades.  Between  Tyre  and  Acre 
lies  a  bay  of  the  sea,  and  thus  the  proverb  says  *  Acre  is  opposite 
Tyre  ;  but  getting  to  it  you  will  tire,'  that  is,  travelling  all  along 
the  sea-shore."  (Muk.,  163.) 

Tyre  was  visited  by  Nasir-i-Khusrau  in  1047.  He  writes  in  his 
Diary  : 

"  Five  leagues  from  Sidon  we  came  to  Tyre,  a  town  that  rises 
on  the  shore  of  the  sea.  They  have  built  the  city  on  a  rock 
(which  is  in  the  sea),  after  such  a  manner,  that  the  town-wall,  for 
one  hundred  yards  only,  is  upon  the  dry  land,  and  the  remainder 
rises  up  from  out  the  very  water.  The  walls  are  built  of  hewn 
stone,  their  joints  being  set  in  bitumen  in  order  to  keep  the  water 
out.  I  estimated  the  area  of  the  town  to  be  a  thousand  (cubits;* 
square,  and  its  caravanserais  are  built  of  five  or  six  stories,  set  one 
above  the  other.  There  are  numerous  fountains  of  water ;  the 
bazaars  are  very  clean,  also  great  is  the  quantity  of  wealth  exposed. 
This  city  of  Tyre  is,  in  fact,  renowned  for  wealth  and  power 
among  all  the  maritime  cities  of  Syria.  The  population  for  the 
most  part  are  of  the  Shi'ah  sect,  but  the  Kadi  (or  judge)  of  the 
place  is  a  Sunni.  He  is  known  as  the  son  of  Abu  'Akil,  and  is  a 
good  man,  also  very  wealthy.  They  have  erected  a  Mash-had  (a 
shrine,  or  place  of  martyrdom)  at  the  city  gate,  where  one  may 
see  great  quantities  of  carpets  and  hangings,  and  lamps  and 
lanterns  of  gold  and  silver.  The  town  itself  stands  on  an  eminence. 
Water  is  brought  thereto  from  the  mountain ;  and  leading  up  to 
the  town-gate  they  have  built  arches  (for  the  aqueduct),  along 
which  the  water  comes  into  the  city.  In  these  mountains  is  the 
valley  (of  the  Battaf),  over  against  this  city,  and  running  eastward, 
through  which,  after  eighteen  leagues,  you  come  to  the  City  of 
Damascus."  (N.  Kh.,  u.) 

*  The  word  arsh  is,  I  suppose,  to  be  understood.  None  of  the  MSS.  give 
the  measure  employed. 


In  1124  the  Crusaders,  under  Baldwin  II.,  besieged  and  took 
Tyre,  and  the  Franks  afterwards  held  the  city  till  1291,  when  it 
was  retaken  by  the  Muslims. 

"Sur,"-says  Idrisi,  in  1154,  "is  a  fine  city  upon  the  sea-shore, 
where  there  is  a  harbour  for  vessels  to  moor  in,  and  to  sail  from. 
It  is  a  fortified  place,  and  of  ancient  date.  The  sea  surrounds  it 
on  three  sides,  and  there  is  a  large  suburb.  They  make  here 
long-necked  vases  of  glass  and  pottery.  Also  a  sort  of  white 
clothes-stuff  which  is  exported  thence  to  all  parts,  being  extremely 
fine,  and  well  woven  beyond  compare.  The  price  also  is  very 
high ;  and  in  butYew  of  the  neighbouring  countries  do  they  make 
as  good  a  stuff."  (Id.,  n.) 

Tyre  was  visited  by  Ibn  Jubair  in  1 185.  He  writes  of  it  in  his 
Diary  in  the  following  terms  : 

"Tyre  is  a  town  that  is  like  a  fortress,  and  it  belongs  to  the 
Franks.  Its  streets  and  roads  are  cleaner  than  those  of  'Akka. 
Many  Moslems  live  here,  and  they  are  unmolested  by  the  Infidels. 
The  town  is  smaller  than  'Akka.  The  fortress  is  wonderfully  built 
and  impregnable.  It  has  two  gates  only  :  one  on  the  land  side,  one 
on  the  sea.  The  sea  surrounds  it  on  all  sides  save  one.  On  the 
land  side  there  are  at  the  entrance  of  the  city  three  gates,  or 
may  be  four  (one  behind  the  other),  each  guarded  by  a  high  outer 
wall  commanding  the  gate.  The  sea  gate  is  entered  between  two 
high  towers,  and  then  you  come  into  the  port,  than  which  there  is 
none  more  wonderful  among  all  the  maritime  cities.  Surround- 
ing it  on  three  sides  lie  the  city  walls,  and  on  the  fourth  side  it  is 
closed  in  by  a  wall  with  an  archway  built  cf  mortared  masonry, 
and  the  ships  come  in  under  this  archway,  and  anchor  inside. 
Between  the  two  towers,  before  mentioned,  they  stretch  a  mighty 
chain  which  prevents  aught  going  in  or  out,  and  the  ships  can 
only  pass  when  it  is  lowered.  At  this  gate  are  guards  who  keep 
watch  and  ward  on  all  who  enter  and  depart.  This  port  of  Tyre 
is  most  famous  and  beautiful.  'Akka  has  a  port  like  it,  but  which 
does  not  afford  anchorage  to  such  large  ships  :  and  the  port  of 
Tyre  is  far  the  larger."  (I.  J.,  308.) 

The  same  author  continues  :  "  At  the  Land  Gate  of  Sur  is  a 
spring  of  bubbling  water,  to  which  you  descend  by  steps.  Wells 


and  cisterns  are  numerous  within  the  city,  and  there  is  hardly  a 
house  without  one."  (I.  J.,  314.) 

"Tyre,"  says  Yakut,  in  1225,  ".is  a  celebrated  city,  and  a 
frontier  fortress  of  the  Muslims.  The  city  is  surrounded  on  three 
sides  by  the  sea,  and  there  is  land  only  on  the  fourth  side  where 
the  roadway  is  defended  by  a  fortified  gate.  It  stands  out  in  the 
sea,  as  the  palm  of  the  hand  does  from  the  wrist.  The  Muslims 
first  took  the  city  in  the  days  of  'Omar,  and  it  remained  in  their 
hands  in  perfect  prosperity  till  the  year  518  (1124),  when  the 
Franks  came  against  the  city  and  beleaguered  and  blockaded  it, 
till  it  surrendered.  The  ruler  of  Egypt  had  tried  to  raise  the 
siege,  but  the  winds  were  contrary,  and  perforce  he  had  to  sail 
back  to  Egypt.  Then  they  capitulated,  and  the  Muslims  all  left 
the  city,  and  none  remained,  except  beggars,  who  could  not  move. 
The  Franks  have  fortified  Tyre  and  garrisoned  it  and  rebuilt  the 
town,  and  it  remains  in  their  hands  even  to  the  present  day 
(1225).  Tyre  is  counted  as  of  the  Jordan  Province/'  (Yak., 
iii.  433;  Mar.,  ii.  171.) 

Abu-1  Fida  adds  nothing  to  the  descriptions  just  given,  except 
to  note  that  "  the  city  was  reconquered  by  the  Muslims  in  690 
(1291),  at  the  same  time  as  Acre  and  other  coast  towns,  and  was 
then  laid  in  ruins,  as  it  remains  down  to  the  present  day  "  (that 
is,  1321).  (A.  F.,  243.) 

"Saladin,"  writes  Dimashki,  "did  not  gain  possession  of  Tyre, 
for  in  his  days  it  remained  in  the  hands  of  the  Christians,  and 
was  only  retaken  by  Salah  ad  Din  Khalil,  and  it  was  he  who  laid 
it  in  ruins.  In  the  space  of  forty-seven  days  he  retook  from  the 
Christians  the  fortresses  of  Athlith,  Haifa,  Iskandanlnah,  Tyre, 
Sidon,  Bairut,  Jubail,  Anafah,  Al  Bathrun,  and  Sarfand.''  (Dim., 


Tyre  was  visited  by  Ibn  Batutah  in  1355,  who  found  it  a 
mass  of  ruins.  He  writes :  "  It  was  formerly  proverbial  for  its 
strength,  being  washed  on  three  sides  by  the  sea.  Of  the  ancient 
walls  and  port  traces  remain,  and  of  old  there  was  a  chain  across 
the  mouth  of  the  port.''  (I.  B.,  i.  130.) 



"A  city,"  writes  Ya'kubi  in  891,  "at  the  foot  of  the  Lebanon 
mountains.  The  town  is  entirely  peopled  by  Persians,  who  were 
brought  here  by  the  Khalif  Mu'awiyah."  (Yb.,  114.) 

"Saida,"  writes  Mukaddasi,  "is  a  fortified  city  on  the  sea." 
(Muk.,  160.) 

Sidon  was  visited  by  the  Persian  traveller  Nasir-i-Khusrau,  in 
1047.  He  writes  in  his  Diary  : 

"  From  Bairut  we  came  on  to  the  city  of  Saida,  likewise  on  the 
seashore.  They  cultivate  here  much  sugar-cane.  The  city  has  a 
well-built  wall  of  stone,  and  four  gates.  There  is  a  fine  Friday 
Mosque,  very  agreeably  situated,  the  whole  interior  of  which  is 
spread  with  matting  in  coloured  designs.  The  bazaars  are  so 
splendidly  adorned  that  when  I  first  saw  them  I  imagined  the 
city  to  be  decorated  for  the  arrival  of  the  Sultan,  or  in  honour  of 
some  good  news.  When  I  inquired,  however,  they  said  it  was 
customary  for  their  city  to  be  thus  always  beautifully  adorned. 
The  gardens  and  orchards  of  the  town  are  such  that  one  might 
say  each  was  a  pleasance  laid  out  at  the  fancy  of  some  king. 
Kiosks  are  set  therein,  and  the  greater  number  of  the  trees  are  of 
those  kinds  that  bear  edible  fruits."  (N.  Kh.,  n.) 

"The  town  of  Saida,"  reports  Idrisi,  "lies  on  the  coast  of  the 
salt  sea,  and  is  surrounded  by  a  wall  of  stone,  that  owes  its  origin 
to  a  certain  woman  of  pagan  times.  Saida  is  a  large  city,  where 
the  markets  are  thronged  and  provisions  are  cheap.  It  is  sur- 
rounded by  gardens  and  trees,  water  is  in  plenty,  and  it  has  broad 
outlying  districts.  The  city  owns  four  districts  (Iklim),  which 
lie  contiguous  to  the  Lebanon  Mountains.  The  first  is  the  Iklim 
of  Jazin,  through  which  runs  the  Wadi  al  Hirr,  which  is  noted  for 
its  fertility  and  the  abundance  of  its  fruits.  The  second  is  the 
Iklim  as  Surbah,  which  is  a  fine  district.  The  third  is  the  Iklim 
of  Kafar  Kila.  The  fourth  is  the  Iklim  ar  Kami,  which  is  the 
name  of  a  river  that  flows  through  the  hills.  These  four  districts 
contain  more  than  6co  domains.  The  people  of  Saida  drink  from 
water  that  is  brought  down  from  the  mountains  by  an  aqueduct. 
In  the  town  is  a  celebrated  spring,  for  during  the  spring  months 

PRO  VI  NCI  A  L  CAPITALS  A  ND  CHI  /•;  /•'  7  'O 1 1  rN  S.  347 

there  grow  certain  small  fish  of  about  the  length  of  a  finger,  and 
some  of  them  are  male  and  some  of  them  are  female,  having 
organs  to  distinguish  between  the  two.  These  fish  are  caught  at 
the  breeding  time  and  dried.  When  they  are  to  be  used,  you 
take  one  and  scrape  it  and  eat  it  dry,  but  should  drink  water  after- 
wards, and  it  acts  on  a  man  as  a  strong  aphrodisiac,  so  that  he 
ran  enjoy  women  as  much  as  he  will  without  suffering  from 
exhaustion  or  debility.  These  fish  are  small  and  of  the  form  of 
the  Gecko  lizard.  They  have  fore  and  hind  legs,  but  small,  and 
partly  hidden.  I  myself  have  seen  them  many  times."  (Id.,  15.) 

"Saida,"  says  Yakut,  "is  a  city  on  the  coast  belonging  to  the 
Damascus  Province.  It  lies  6  leagues  east  of  Tyre.  Saida  is 
called  after  Saidun,  son  of  Sanaka,  son  of  Kan'an  (Canaan),  son 
of  Nfih  (Noah).  It  was  during  some  years  in  the  hands  of  the 
Franks.  There  are  quantities  of  vegetables  grown  all  round  the 
town,  and  the  Narcissus  flowers  everywhere.  In  the  year  504  ( 1 1 1  o) 
Ma'dun  (Baldwin?),  who  was  the  Lord  of  Jerusalem,  went  against 
Saida  with  a  large  army  and  conquered  it,  giving  the  people 
quarter,  but  harrassing  them.  It  remained  in  the  hands  of  the 
Christians  till  Saladin  took  it  in  the  year  583  (1187).  (Yak.,  iii. 
439;  Mar.,  ii.  174.) 

Abu-1  Fida  writes  :  "  Saida,  on  the  Damascus  coast,  stands  on 
the  seaside.  It  is  a  small  town,  but  fortified.  The  road  from 
Saida  to  Damascus  is  as  follows :  From  Saida  to  Mashghara  is 
24  miles.  Mashghara  is  one  of  the  pleasantest  of  the  towns  of 
these  parts.  It  has  splendid  trees  and  streams,  and  stands  on  a 
Wadi.  From  Mashghara  to  Kamid  (al  Lauz),  which  in  old  times 
was  the  chief  town  of  the  district,  is  6  miles.  From  Kamid  to 
the  domain  called  'Ain  al  Jarr  is  18  miles;  and  from  'Ain  al 
Jarr  to  Damascus  is  also  18  miles.  Total  from  Saida  to  Damascus 
66  miles."  (A.  F.,  249.) 

Sidon  was  visited  by  Ibn  Batutah  in  1355.  He  speaks  of  it 
as  a  town  full  of  fruit-trees,  the  exports  being  figs,  raisins  and 
olive  oil  which  are  carried  to  Egypt.  (I.  B.,  i.  132.) 



"A  town,"  writes  Ya'kubi  in  891,  "inhabited  by  Persians 
brought  hither  by  the  Khalif  Mu'awiyah.  The  place  has  a  fine 
harbour,  capable  of  containing  a  thousand  ships."  (Yb.,  114.) 

Writing  in  the  year  869,  Biladhuri  says :  "  When  'Othman 
became  Khalif,  and  Mu'awiyah  was  first  made  Governor  of  Syria, 
he  despatched  Sufyan  ibn  Mujib  al  Azdi  against  Atrabulus,  which 
was  at  that  time  a  city  containing  Three  Towns  united  into  one. 
Sufyan  built  a  fort  in  a  meadow  a  few  miles  distant,  calling  it 
Hisn  Sufyan,  thereby  cutting  off  aid  to  the  city  from  all  sides, 
and  the  people  could  get  no  succour  either  by  sea  or  by  land. 
Then  the  people  sent  to  the  King  of  Rum  (Constantinople), 
and  he  despatched  ships,  and  they  escaped  to  them  by  night ; 
and  when  Sufyan  entered  the  city  he  found  the  place  empty. 
Mu'awiyah  colonized  the  place  with  Jews,  and  they  are  those  who 
live  at  the  harbour  to  this  day.  The  Khalif  'Abd  al  Malik  rebuilt 
and  refortified  Tarabulus."  (Bil.,  167.) 

According  to  Istakhri :  "  Tarabulus,  or  Atrabulus,  in  the 
Damascus  Province,  is  a  city  of  great  plenty,  with  excellent  crops 
and  fruits,  for  the  lands  are  wonderfully  fertile.  Living  is  cheap. 
It  is  the  port  of  Damascus,  and  lies  on  its  coast.  The  Damas- 
cenes are  in  garrison  here,  as  also  other  men  from  other  parts  of 
the  province,  and  they  set  out  from  here  on  their  military  expedi- 
tions. The  people  of  Tripoli  are  not  so  rough  and  frivolous  as 
are  the  Damascenes  ;  they  are  given  to  good  works,  and  will 
listen  to  the  exhortation  of  the  preacher.  The  lands  round  are 
fertile,  growing  palms  and  sugar-canes."  (Is.,  61  ;  I.  H.,  116.) 

"  Tarabulus,"  says  Mukaddasi,  "  is  a  fortified  city  on  the  sea. 
It  is  a  finer  town  than  either  Saida  or  Bairut."  (Muk.,  160.) 

Tripoli  was  visited  by  Nasir-i-Khusrau  in  1047.  He  writes  in 
his  Diary  : 

"  From  Aleppo  to  Tarabulus  is  40  leagues.  The  whole  neigh- 
bourhood of  the  town  is  occupied  by  fields,  and  gardens,  and 
trees.  The  sugar-cane  grows  here  luxuriously,  as  likewise  orange 
and  citron  trees,  also  the  banana,  the  lemon,  and  the  date.  They 
were,  at  the  time  of  our  arrival,  extracting  the  juice  of  the  sugar- 


cane.  The  town  of  Tripoli  is  so  situate  that  three  sides  thereof 
are  on  the  sea,  and  when  the  waves  beat,  sea-water  is  thrown  up 
on  to  the  very  city  walls.  The  fourth  side,  which  is  towards  the 
land,  is  protected  by  a  mighty  ditch,  lying  eastward  of  the  wall, 
across  which  opens  an  iron  gate,  solidly  built.  The  walls  are  all 
of  hewn  stone,  and  the  battlements  and  embrasures  are  after  the 
like  work.  Along  the  battlements  are  placed  balistae  (arradah), 
for  their  fear  is  of  the  Greeks,  who  are  wont  to  attempt  the  place 
in  their  ships.  The  city  measures  1,000  cubits  long,  by  the  like 
across.  Its  hostelries  are  four  and  five  stories  high,  and  there  are 
even  some  that  are  of  six.  The  private  houses  and  bazaars  are 
well  built,  and  so  clean  that  one  might  take  each  to  be  a  palace 
for  its  splendour.  Every  kind  of  meat,  and  fruit,  and  eatable 
that  ever  I  saw  in  all  the  land  of  Persia  is  to  be  had  here,  and  a 
hundred  degrees  better  in  quality.  In  the  midst  of  the  town  is 
the  great  Friday  Mosque,  well  kept,  and  finely  adorned,  and 
solidly  constructed.  In  the  mosque  court  is  a  large  dome,  built 
over  a  marble  tank,  in  the  middle  of  which  is  set  a  brazen 
fountain.  In  the  bazaar,  too,  they  have  made  a  watering-place, 
where,  at  five  spouts,  is  abundant  water  for  the  people  to  take 
from  ;  and  the  overflow,  going  along  the  ground,  runs  into  the 
sea.  They  say  there  are  twenty  thousand  men  in  this  city,  and 
the  place  possesses  many  territories  .and  villages.  They  make 
here  very  good  paper,  like  that  of  Samarkand,  only  of  better 
quality.  The  city  of  Tripoli  belongs  to  the  (Fatimite)  Sultan  of 
Egypt.  The  origin,  as  I  was  told,  of  this  is  that  when,  a  certain 
time  ago,  an  army  of  the  infidels  from  Byzantium  had  come 
against  the  city,  the  Muslims  from  Egypt  came  and  did  fight  the 
infidels,  and  put  them  to  flight.  The  Sultan  of  Egypt  has 
remitted  his  right  to  the  land-tax  (kharaj]  in  the  city.  There  is 
always  a  body  of  the  Sultan's  troops  in  garrison  here,  with  a 
commander  set  over  them,  to  keep  the  city  safe  from  the  enemy. 
The  city,  too,  is  a  place  of  customs,  where  all  ships  that  come 
from  the  coasts  of  the  Greeks,  and  the  Franks,  and  from 
Andalusia,  and  the  Western  lands  (called  Maghrib},  have  to  pay 
a  tithe  to  the  Sultan,  which  sums  are  employed  for  providing  the 
rations  of  the  garrison.  The  Sultan  also  has  ships  of  his  own 


here,  which  sail  to  Byzantium,  and  Sicily,  and  the  West,  to  carry 
merchandise.  The  people  of  Tripoli  are  all  of  the  Shi'ah  sect. 
The  Shi'ahs  in  all  countries  have  built  for  themselves  fine 
mosques.  There  are  in  this  place  houses  like  Ribats  (which  are 
caravanserais,  or  watch-stations),  only  that  no  one  dwells  therein 
on  guard,  and  they  call  them  Mash-hads  (shrines,  or  places  of 
martyrdom).  There  are  no  houses  outside  the  city  of  Tripoli, 
except  two  or  three  of  these  Mash-hads."  (N.  Kh.,  6.) 

"Atrabulus  of  Syria,"  according  to  the  report  of  Idrisi,  "is  a 
great  city,  defended  by  a  stone  wall,  and  impregnable.  It  has 
villages,  and  territories,  and  fine  domains ;  and  many  trees  such 
as  olives,  vines,  sugar-cane,  and  fruit-trees  of  all  kinds,  and  of  all 
manner  of  crops  a  variety  beyond  count.  Coming  and  going 
there  is  perpetual.  The  sea  embraces  the  town  on  three  sides, 
and  it  is  one  of  the  great  fortresses  of  Syria.  All  sorts  of  wares 
are  brought  thither,  and  of  stuffs  and  merchandise  great  quantities. 
To  Atrabulus  belong  a  number  of  forts  and  castles  which  are 
garrisoned  from  this  place,  and  are  in  the  jurisdiction,  thereof. 
Of  these  are  'Anaf  al  Hajar,  Hisn  al  Kalamun,  Hisn  Abu-1  'Adas, 
and  Artusiyyah  (Orthosia).  Of  chief  domains  there  are  four 
belonging  to  Tripoli  that  are  very  celebrated.  These  are  the  well- 
known  villages  of  Ash  Shafikah,  Az  Zaituniyyah,  Ar  Ra'ibiyyah, 
with  Al  Hadath  and  Amyun.*  Belonging  to  the  town  are  lands 
with  olive-trees  and  gardens  growing  all  sorts  of  fruits  and  crops 
in  plenty.  Lying  4  miles  to  the  south  of  the  town  is  a  fort  built 
by  Ibn  Sinjil  (Count  Raymond  of  St.  Giles,  in  1104),  the  Frank, 
from  which  he  came  and  conquered  Tripoli.  This  is  an  impreg- 
nable fortress  on  a  height  between  two  Wadis. 

"  Opposite  the  city  of  Tripoli  are  four  islands  in  a  row.  The 
first  of  them,  and  the  nearest  to  the  land,  is  the  Narcissus  Isle 
(An  Narjis]  ;  it  is  very  small,  and  is  unoccupied.  Then  comes 
the  Isle  of  the  Column  (Al  'Aumd\  then  Monk's  Isle  (Ar  Rahib\ 
and  then  the  Isle  of  Ardhakun  (or  Udhakun)."  (Id.,  17.) 

On  the  margin  of  one  of  the  MSS.  of  Idrisi  is  the  following  : 

"  The  inhabitants  of  Tripoli  have  already  removed  towards  the 
mountain,  and  have  built  another  city  of  the  same  name  at  a 
*  The  reading  of  these  names  is  very  doubtful. 


place  which  lies  4  miles  from  the  sea.  All  that  remains  of  the 
ancient  city  is  the  mosque,  which  is  still  used.  It  is  called  Jami' 
al  'Umari.  I  myself  have  stayed  there  some  days  when  we  were 
stationed  for  defence  on  the  coast.  The  people  fled  from  the  old 
town  on  account  of  their  fear  of  the  enemy,  who  used  to  make 
incursions.  The  new  town  has  no  wall,  except  a  short  piece 
towards  the  sea.  It  was  built  by  the  Amir  Manjak  (the  Governor  of 
Tripoli)  in  the  year  768(1 366),*  during  the  reign  of  Sultan  Sha'aban." 

Yakut  adds  nothing  to  the  foregoing.  (Yak.,  i.  307  ;  iii.  523; 
Mar.,  i.  74  ;  ii.  198.) 

Tripoli,  which  was  taken  by  the  Crusaders  in  1104,  was  retaken 
by  the  Muslims  under  Sultan  Kala'un  in  1289. 

"  Tarabulus,"  says  Dimashki,  "  is  the  capital  of  the  Province 
of  that  name.  After  Sultan  Kala'un,  at  the  head  of  the  Muslim 
army,  had  retaken  Tarabulus,  a  new  city  was  built  on  a  spur  of 
the  Lebanon  Mountains  about  5  miles  distant  from  the  old  town 
of  Tarabulus,  which  had  been  laid  in  ruins.  The  new  town  lies 
on  the  bank  of  a  stream  that  falls  into  the  sea,  and  stands  partly 
on  the  mountain  and  partly  in  the  plain,  being  both  on  the  sea 
and  near  the  open  country.  Water  flows  into  the  city  from  all 
sides,  and  there  is  an  aqueduct  on  arches  which  brings  the  water 
from  a  valley  in  the  mountains.  This  aqueduct  carries  the  water 
at  a  height  of  near  70  ells,  and  is  about  200  ells  long.  The  river 
aforesaid  flows  underneath  it,  watering  the  lands,  and  thence  flowing 
into  the  sea.  There  is  hardly  a  house  in  the  town  that  has  not 
trees  (in  its  court)  in  numbers,  for  the  waters  flow  everywhere, 
coming  down  from  the  Lebanon  Mountains.  In  the  gardens  of 
Tarabulus  are  all  kinds  of  fruits,  such  as  you  find  nowhere  else. 
The  sugar-cane,  and  the  sycamore,  and  sage-plants  in  great 
quantities,  also  the  colocassia  (Kalkas).  You  get  here  sea-fish 
and  birds  of  all  varieties,  such  as  you  can  get  in  no  other  single 
place."  (Dim.,  207.) 

The   same   author   continues :   "  Belonging   to   the   Tarabulus 

District  are  the  following  places  :  Al  Bathrun  (Botrys),  a  place 

conquered  by  Al  Malik  al  Mansur  (Kala'un).     It  has  extensive 

lands.    Anafah,  a  well-built  town  lying  on  the  coast,  and  Antartus. 

*  See  G.  Weil,  Geschichte  der  Chalifen,  iv.  522. 


Hisn  'Arka  and  Hisn  Halba,  both  with  broad  lands,  and  both 
the  chief  towns  of  their  respective  districts.  Jun  and  Rajaliyah, 
two  fortresses  dismantled  in  our  own  day.  Also  the  town  of 
Marakiyyah  on  the  coast,  an  ancient  city  with  extensive  lands. 
Jumah  'Akkar,  Jumah  Bashariyyah,  and  Al  Kurah. 

"  Of  the  Tarabulus  Districts  also  are  :  Al  Bukai'ah,  where  there 
is  a  fortress,  and  An  Na'im.  Also  the  Nusairiyyah  Mountains, 
among  which  lie  about  twenty  districts,  extending  from  Al 
Ladhikiyyah  and  Sahyun  towards  Al  Bathrun. 

"  The  castles  of  the  Assassins  (Kilo?  ad  D&wiyah)  belong  to  the 
districts  of  Tarabulus.  These  have  been  lately  built  by  Rashid 
ad  Din  Muhammad,  the  disciple  of  'Ala  ad  Din  'Ali,  who  holds 
the  fort  of  Al  Alamaut  in  Persia  near  Kaswin.  He  is  the  Chief  of 
the  Assassins,  whose  sect  is  celebrated  for  its  impiety.  They  are 
called  Ismailians  also.  Among  their  castles  are  Hisn  al  Khawabi  ; 
Hisn  al  Kahf,  where  there  is  a  cavern  in  which  Rashid  ad  Din,  it 
is  said,  once  took  refuge,  and  now  lies  buried  ;  or,  as  others  say,  has 
only  disappeared,  and  will  appear  again  according  to  the  belief  of 
his  people.  Hisn  al  Kadmus,  where  during  the  months  of 
Tammuz  and  Ab  numbers  of  serpents  appear  in  a  certain  hot 
bath.  Hisn  al  'Ullaikah,  Hisn  al  Mainakah,  Hisn  ar  Rusafah  lie 
on  the  spurs  of  the  Taraz  (Mountains)  towards  Damascus.  Also 
Hisn  Abi  Kubais*  and  Thughr  Masyaf.  This  last  is  the  mother 
fortress  of  them  all.  The  Assassins  chosen  are  sent  out  thence  to 
all  countries  and  lands  to  slay  kings  and  great  men."  (Dim.,  208.) 

Abu-1  Fida  adds  nothing  to  the  above  in  his  description  of 
Tripoli ;  he  gives  the  distance  thence  to  Ba'albakk  as  54  miles., 
to  Damascus  as  90  miles,  and  to  Antartus  (Tortosa)  as  30  miles. 
(A.  F,  253.) 

The  new  town  of  Tripoli  was  visited  by  Ibn  Batutah  in  1355. 
He  describes  it  as :  "  Traversed  by  water-channels  and  full  of 
gardens.  The  houses  are  newly  built.  The  sea  lies  2  leagues 
distant,  and  the  ruins  of  the  old  town  are  seen  on  the  sea-shore. 
It  was  taken  by  the  Franks,  but  Al  Malik  ath  Thahir  retook  it 
from  them,  and  then  laid  the  place  in  ruins  and  built  the  present 
town.  There  are  fine  baths  here."  (I.  B.,  i.  137.) 
*  Bokebeis,  of  the  Crusading  Chronicles. 



"  Hims,''  writes  Ya'kubi,  in  8gi,  "is  one  of  the  largest  cities  in 
Syria.  It  is  situated  on  a  broad  river,  the  water  of  which  the 
inhabitants  drink.  The  city  has  many  districts  round  it,  among 
which  is  that  called  Al  Bamah."  (Yb.,  1 1 1.) 

"  Hims,"  writes  Mas'udi,  "  is  noted  for  the  personal  beauty  of  its 
inhabitants."  (Mas .,  i.  125.)  "The  Empress  Helena  built  here  a 
church  on  four  piers  (arkiin),  which  is  one  of  the  wonders  of  the 
world."  (Mas.,  ii.  312.) 

"  The  streets  of  Hims  were  of  old  paved  with  flag-stones,  and 
the  same  may  be  noted  at  the  present  day."  (Bil.,  134  ;  also 
I.  R,  no.) 

"  Of  the  wonders  of  Hims,"  says  Ibn  al  Fakih,  "  is  an  image  which 
stands  over  the  gate  of  the  Jami'  Mosque,  facing  the  church. 
This  is  of  white  stone,  and  the  upper  part  of  the  image  is  in  the 
form  of  a  man,  the  lower  being  in  the  form  of  a  scorpion.  If  a 
scorpion  stings  a  man,  let  him  take  clay  and  press  it  on  the 
image,  and  then  dissolve  the  clay  in  water  and  drink  it.  It  will 
still  the  pain,  and  immediately  he  will  recover.  They  say  this  image 
is  a  talisman  specially  made  against  scorpions."  (I.  F.,  no.) 

"  Hims,"  writes  Istakhri,  "  is  the  capital  of  the  province  of  the 
same  name.  The  city  lies  in  a  fertile  plain  ;  it  enjoys  an  excellent 
climate,  and  its  soil  is  one  of  the  best  in  Syria.  Its  people  are 
extremely  handsome.  There  are  neither  scorpions  nor  snakes  in 
Hims,  and  should  one  enter  the  place,  it  dies.  Water,  trees,  and 
arable  fields  are  seen  everywhere,  and  most  of  the  village  lands  are 
watered  by  the  rains  (not  artificially  irrigated).  There  is  here  a 
church,  half  of  which  is  used  as  a  Mosque,  while  the  other  half 
belongs  to  the  Christians,  and  they  have  here  their  chapel  and  altar. 
This  church  of  theirs  is  one  of  the  largest  in  Syria.  The  Greeks 
have  invaded  this  country  during  our  own  days  (tenth  century), 
and  ruined  many  of  its  lands  and  villages.  The  desolation  is 
gaining  everywhere,  since  these  incursions  of  the  Infidels  began, 
and  though  the  people  are  seeking  to  return  to  their  old  homes, 
the  Badawin  Arabs  eat  up  their  crops,  and  plunder  their  land,  time 
after  time.  Nearly  all  the  streets  and  markets  of  Hims  are 



flagged  or  paved  with  stones."     (Is.,  61  ;  I.   H,   117;  copied  in 
part  by  A.  F.,  261.) 

Mukaddasi,  writing  in  985,  says  of  Emessa : 

"There  is  no  larger  city  than  this  in  all  Syria.  There  is  a 
citadel  high  above  the  town,  which  you  perceive  from  afar  off. 
Most  of  the  drinking-water  is  obtained  from  the  rainfall,  but  there 
is  also  a  river.  When  the  Muslims  conquered  this  place  they 
seized  the  church,  and  turned  the  half  of  it  into  a  Mosque.  In  the 
market-place  near  by  is  a  cupola,  on  the  top  of  which  is  seen  the 
figure  of  a  man  in  brass,  standing  upon  a  fish,  and  the  same  is 
turned  by  the  four  winds.  About  this  figure  they  relate  many 
stories,  but  these  are  unworthy  of  credence.  This  town  has 
suffered  great  misfortunes,  and  is  indeed  threatened  with  ruin, 
Its  men  are  witless.  The  other  towns  of  these  parts  are  also 
falling  to  decay,  though  prices  are  moderate,  and  such  of  them  as 
are  on  the  coast  are  well  provided  with  ramparts."  (Muk.,  156.) 

"  There  is  at  Hims  a  talisman — it  is  the  wind-vane,  and  it 
serves  against  scorpions.  For  whosoever  takes  clay  and  presses  it 
thereon,  by  Allah's  permission,  will  obtain  a  cure  for  their  sting  ; 
and  the  cure  is  effected  by  the  impact  of  the  figure  on  the  vane, 
not  by  the  clay  alone."  (Muk.,  186.) 

In  1099  Hims  was  captured  by  the  Crusaders.  Idrisi  reports 
in '1154: 

"  Hims,  the  capital  of  the  Province  of  the  same  name,  is  a  fine 
town  standing  in  a  plain.  It  is  populous,  and  much  frequented 
by  travellers  who  come  there  for  its  products  and  rarities  of  all 
kinds.  Its  markets  are  always  open.  The  ways  of  the  people  are 
pleasant ;  living  with  them  is  easy,  and  their  manners  are  agree- 
able. The  women  are  beautiful,  and  are  celebrated  for  their  fine 
skins.  The  drinking  water  is  brought  to  the  city  by  an  aqueduct 
from  a  village  near  Jusiyyah,  about  a  day's  march  from  the  city  in 
the  direction  of  Damascus.  The  river  Urunt  (Orontes),  called 
also  Al  Maklub,  flows  by  the  gate  (of  Hims),  and  there  are 
gardens  one  after  another  along  it,  belonging  to  the  city,  with 
trees  and  many  water  channels.  They  bring  the  fruit  from  these 
gardens  into  the  town.  Since  the  beginning  of  Islam  this  has 
been  of  all  cities  that  which  has  produced  most  grapes ;  but  now 


these  gardens  are  for  the  most  part  laid  waste.  The  soil  is 
excellent  for  the  tilling  and  raising  of  crops ;  and  the  climate  is 
more  equable  than  that  of  any  other  town  of  Syria.  There  is 
here  (in  Hims)  a  talisman  which  prevents  the  entrance  of  any 
serpent  or  scorpion,  and  should  one  enter  through  the  gate  of  the 
city  it  immediately  dies.  For  on  the  summit  of  a  high  dome 
which  is  in  the  middle  of  the  city,  is  an  idol  of  brass  in  the  figure 
of  a  man,  riding,  and  it  turns  with  every  wind  that  blows.  In  the 
wall  of  the  Dome  is  a  stone  on  which  is  the  figure  of  a  scorpion, 
and  when  a  man  is  stung  or  bitten,  he  lays  on  this  stone  some 
clay,  and  then  puts  the  clay  on  the  bite,  and  immediately  he 
becomes  healed.  All  the  streets  and  lanes  of  the  city  are  paved 
with  blocks  of  hard  stone.  The  agriculture  of  the  province  is 
extremely  productive,  and  the  cultivated  ground  needs  but  very 
little  rain  or  irrigation.  There  is  a  large  Mosque  here,  it  is  one 
of  the  largest  of  all  the  cities  of  Syria."  (Id.,  18.) 

Hims  was  visited  in  1185  by  the  traveller  Ibn  Jubair  who  notes 
in  his  diary  that  he  stopped  in  the  Khan  as  Sabil.  He  continues  : 

"  It  is  a  fine  city  standing  in  a  plain,  but  wanting  in  water 
and  trees,  shade  and  fruit ;  and  abounding  in  dust.  Water  is 
brought  to  it  by  a  canal  from  the  river  'Asi  (the  Orontes),  which 
is  about  a  mile  distant.  Along  the  river  are  gardens.  The 
people  of  Hims  are  noted  for  their  courage  and  perseverance  in 
war.  Those  of  Halab  rank  next  to  them  in  this  quality.  The 
air  of  Hims  is  moist,  and  the  breeze  pleasant.  On  the  south  of 
the  town  is  a  strong  castle.  On  the  east  of  the  town  is  a  cemetery 
in  which  is  the  tomb  of  (the  Arab  General)  Khalid  ibn  Al  Walid, 
and  that  of  his  son,  'Abd  ar  Rahman  ;  also  the  tomb  of  'Ubaid 
Allah,  the  son  of  the  Khalif  'Omar.  The  walls  of  Hims  are  very 
ancient  and  strong,  being  built  of  well  laid  blocks  of  black  stone. 
The  city  gates  are  of  iron,  of  great  height,  and  above  each  of  them 
is  a  high  tower.  There  are  many  fine  markets  here.  Not  far 
distant  is  Hisn  al  Akrad  (the  Castle  of  the  Kurds),*  which  is  a 
strong  place,  but  belonging  to  the  enemy.  There  is  no  Maristan 
(or  hospital)  in  Hims,  and  only  one  Madrasah  (or  college).' 

<!•  J-,  259.) 

*  See  Part  II. 



Yakut  (in  1225)  speaks  of  Hims  as  "a  large  and  celebrated 
town.  It  is  walled,  and  on  the  south  is  a  strongly  fortified  castle 
standing  on  a  high  hill.  Hims  lies  half  way  between  Damascus 
and  Haldb.  The  tombs  of  Khalid  ibn  Al  Walid  and  of  other  Com- 
panions  of  the  Prophet  are  here.  To  the  west  of  the  road  from 
Hamah,  near  Hims,  is  the  Urunt  (Orontes  river).  Hims  was 
built  by  the  ancient  Greeks,  and  the  Olives  of  Palestine  were 
of  their  rearing.*  Hims  was  conquered  by  Khalid  shortly  after 
Abu  'Ubaidah  ibn  Al  Jarrah  had  taken  Damascus.  It  capitulated 
and  was  ransomed  for  71,000  Dinars  (.£35,500;  Ibn  al  Fakih, 
p.  no,  gives  the  figure  at  170,000  Dinars,  or  £85,000).  Half 
the  Church  of  Yuhanna  (St.  John)  was  turned  into  a  mosque. 
Of  the  wonders  of  Hims  is  a  figure  over  the  gate  of  its  Mosque 
beside  the  church.  On  a  white  stone  above  is  the  figure  of  a 
man,  and  below  the  figure  of  a  scorpion.  Anyone  who  takes 
clay  of  the  ground  near  and  presses  it  on  this  figure,  obtains  a 
sure  antidote  against  scorpion  stings,  for  if  he  drink  some  water 
in  which  this  clay  is  mixed  he  will  be  immediately  cured  of  the 
sting.  At  Hims  is  the  Mash-had  (Oratory  of  the  Khalif)  'Ali  ibn 
Abu  Talib,  and  there  is  a  column  on  which  is  seen  the  mark